LIHU‘E — Scott McFarland and Joshua Nations are good to go. The Kaua‘i Planning Commission last week approved a request from the new owners of Kaua‘i Athletic Club in Lihu‘e to move to a new location at Hale Kaua‘i in Nawiliwili.
“This helps us out a great deal,” McFarland said after the commission meeting on April 24.
“Certainly before July 1, we’ll be out of the existing location and into the new location,” he said.
The young duo of business entrepreneurs, owners of Good To Go Living, bought the island’s popular fitness club, a nearly 30-year-old facility, in December.
But the facility did not come attached to the building, which was already listed for sale.
“We considered buying the building,” McFarland said, but the two decided their business is to provide fitness, and they are not ready to enter into real estate ownership.
With the clock ticking to find a new home for their business — the current location is in escrow — McFarland and Nations secured the Hale Kaua‘i building in Nawiliwili.
But they still needed permits to move.
The commission’s unanimous decision to approve the necessary permits cleared an important hurdle in making the move to Nawiliwili, McFarland said.
Kaua‘i Athletic Club first opened in 1982. The current location has a little more than 16,000 square feet.
The new location is approximately 14,000 square feet in size, and a flexible lease agreement will initially allow the new club to occupy most of the building’s floor plan, with potential for expansion, McFarland said.
“There will be a reduction of some amenities and some services, but we will definitely expand a number of services so that a wider range of folks can take advantage of physical activity with the equipment we are putting in the new facility,” McFarland said.
The Lihu‘e location has racquetball and handball courts that occupy more than 60 percent of the club’s space.
Due to space restrictions and the high cost to build new courts, McFarland said the new facility will not offer racquetball courts.
But he said has met with the racquetball community and is trying to figure out a solution, including rebuilding somewhere else.
“Our hope is that we can do that either in the existing location at some point after opening or somewhere else,” McFarland said.
The swimming pool, hot tub and steam room at the current location also will not be available at the Nawiliwili location, McFarland said, although he said they might build a dry sauna there.
The weight room in the Lihu‘e location occupies about 5,000 square feet, according to Nations.
In Hale Kaua‘i, the available space for the weight room will more than double, according to Nations.
The newest trend in workouts is to offer group training, McFarland said. Hale Kaua‘i’s second floor will be dedicated to that, he said.
The bottom floor will be used for cardio exercise. The center of the room will be some sort of “adult jungle gym,” complete with new equipment and free weights, which arrived on the island April 16 and have been sitting inside a shipping container.
McFarland said he hopes to have the Hale Kaua‘i location open by July, and for a smooth transition from Lihu‘e to Nawiliwili.
“We don’t want to interrupt anybody’s fitness routine,” said McFarland, adding that there might even be a possibility that both locations can operate simultaneously for a few days.
The new location will also benefit cruise ship passengers, Marriott guests and other area visitors and residents, who will have a new fitness club within walking distance, McFarland said, explaining that cruise ship passengers usually buy day passes for the gym.
• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.