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Genesis takes over operations of Lawrence Athletic Club; $4 million remodel on tap


Well, the tea leaves ended up being right on this one: As folks have speculated for more than a week, Genesis Health Club has taken over the operations of the Lawrence Athletic Club.

Employees of LAC, 3201 Mesa Way, were informed of the change earlier today. I haven’t yet heard back from a Genesis representative, but the phones out at LAC are now being answered as Genesis Health Club.

A worker at the front desk said a Genesis official would give me a call soon, and I will report back on what I find.

Until then, details are a little scarce on what, if any, changes are in store. Genesis already operates a health club at 2329 Iowa St. in south Lawrence.

I think lots of folks are assuming that Genesis will operate two locations in town but we’ll try to confirm that, as well as what happens to the memberships that LAC members have paid for.

No word yet on what longtime LAC owner Rick Sells' future may have in store. Based on old stories we’ve done on him, I think he has been in the athletic club business for about 30 years.

UPDATE: I've now gotten in touch with Rodney Steven II, owner of the Genesis chain of health clubs, and he confirmed that the change over did indeed occur at noon today.

Steven said part of the agreement was for Genesis to honor all existing LAC memberships. He's on site at the club today handing out new membership cards. Hours of the facility also won't change.

But what will change is that members should expect a major remodeling of the facility, which was bought — not leased — by Genesis. Steven said he hopes to start construction soon on a project that will change the exterior of the building and really be a complete remodel of the interior space. He said that will include new weight and cardio rooms and equipment, new locker rooms and new furnishings.

"We usually spend millions of dollars outfitting and remodeling a club," Steven said.

Steven said he hasn't been able to do that at the Genesis location at 2339 Iowa St. because he has been unsuccessful in purchasing the real estate of that location. Steven said the south Iowa Street location will remain open for the foreseeable future, and he said the company's long-term plan is to operate two locations in Lawrence. But Steven made it clear he likes owning rather than leasing, so he stopped short of saying whether the company will remain at the South Iowa location for the long-term.

Steven said he hopes to have the remodeling work at the former LAC spot completed by September or October. He said the club will remain open during construction, which will be done in phases to minimize disruptions to members.


CardHawkFan 5 years ago

Should we expect more Spangles in town (the same family owns both)? The Stevens already own half of Wichita, now Lawrence? Watch out Dougie C!

Kelly Johnson 5 years ago

So does this mean if we have a Genesis membership we can go to the LAC location now?

Chad Lawhorn 5 years ago

Here are a few more details that I have since gotten from the company. The remodel will include three group fitness studios, a mind/body yoga and Pilates studio and a large multi-purpose studio. The men's and women's locker rooms will include steam rooms. Thanks, Chad

Dave Greenbaum 5 years ago

Is the reverse true? LAC members can go to the other Genesis club in town (or in Topeka) or will each club location have an individual membership?

Joe Adams 5 years ago

Do you know if they will continue to have Daycare at the location? Also, how this will affect any of the groups that are utilizing the space for swim lessons and what not?

kuhusker 5 years ago

Any word on what happens for those with month to month memberships - will the rates stay the same?

otto 5 years ago

I understand that if these questions get answered here everyone can get the answers all at once. They probably prepared for many questions if you give them a call.

Ohboyherewego 5 years ago

This is terrible. The gym is already crowded enough around the clock, now we're going to have Genesis members flooding the gym?

Mdub10 5 years ago

I am no longer a member of Genesis, because they had promised that they were remodeling the gym and didnt hope they change there ways. I am a member of The Summit and prolly would never go back to genesis just because I was promised remodeling and never saw anything for the year I was with them. I hope the best for the people that were with the LAC.

Dan Blomgren 5 years ago

At least at The Summit you'll never have to worry about 'wear and tear' on the equipment or remodeling because they don't have any members to wear anything down. It should look brand new even 5 years from now.

prontohawk 5 years ago

If you would read the article you would understand why remodeling hasn't happened at the Iowa St location. I have worked out at that location for over a year now and have noticed a lot of positive changes. LAC members have a lot to look forward to and should be happy that Genesis took over.

gccs14r 5 years ago

It didn't keep them from taking the modernization surcharge in September. That's probably where they got a chunk of the money to buy LAC.

prontohawk 5 years ago

Again! Read the article. It sounds like Genesis isn't impressed with the Iowa location either. They bought another facility because they couldn't purchase the one they are currently in so they can remodel. Ask people in Emporia if Genesis didn't deliver by remodeling their facility. Ask people in Salina if Genesis didn't deliver by building a new club there. Ask people in Leavenworth if they see Genesis delivering a new facility that is under construction right now. As far as your comments go on Genesis equipment, I think you are fibbing a little bit. I work out there and have never had the exquipment almost "fall apart"...SMH

Jack Bell 5 years ago

you work out there? you mean you work there? you seem very adamant and biased, especially since you are constantly "correcting" people multiple times in one day, you also seem to know a hell of a lot about genesis...my opinion is totally unbiased, i have many years of lifting experience and that's my opinion of genesis' equipment, not saying i wouldn't use it, i just hate when they say brand new as if it's state of the art, it's misleading...it's brand new, yes, but it's lower grade, just my opinion, sorry if that rubs you the wrong way

vermont 5 years ago

This is really too bad. Another local business goes out. I'm just not in to the corporate feel. That's why I like to live here in Lawrence. With all of these corporate businesses taking over I really worry about the character of this town. I've been with LAC for 15 years. I have always felt that it wasn't perfect but it was my hometown gym. Talking with Max in the locker room, interacting with KU athletes and just a great sense of community in general was the best part. Obviously, nostalgia doesn't make money and i would have tightened things up if I was looking at the bottom line but I just really hope they somehow hold onto the local, hometown feel that made LAC successful. Looking forward to the future but not expecting much after looking at the current Genesis location in town. Expecting disappointment and raised prices...

BlkMt 5 years ago

Always hate to see local buisness sell/or go down. Any suggestions on a Smaller gym facility here in Lawrence? Something that doesn't bleed the wallet?!

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