Why is there no Gym Near Us?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Josh

“Dear PoPville,

The short of it is where oh where is a gym in NoMa/Eckington/Trinidad/H Street?

We live in NoMa and the one thing I have my fingers crossed for is a big gym (a la Results, Vida, Washington Sports Club). I have been hoping that a gym is in the works for one of the bigger spaces around Union Market but am yet to hear anything. The area it is a total black hole and it seems like a ripe market for a gym to move in given how much of the area is residential and how big some of the buildings/warehouses are. Do you know of anything? Heard even mention of it? While many of the new apartment buildings have their own gyms, for those of us in row houses or smaller buildings, there aren’t any great options within a 2 mile radius. Would love to hear your thoughts and reader thoughts…even better if you know of something that is being considered or throw around!”

78 Comment

  • The big new residential buildings in NoMa all have their own fairly well stocked gyms, I’m sure that cuts down on the demand.

  • I live in the H Street area and have the same problem. There is a personal trainer studio and a Crossfit in the neighborhood but what I would really like to see is an at least moderately sized gym with some free weights, weight machines, and cardio equipment.

    • justinbc

      The VIDA at Navy Yard is about 2-2.5 miles away, depending on where you live around H Street. I live around the corner from Lincoln Park and it’s exactly 2 miles for me to get there.

  • The Hechts District is getting a Planet Fitness by summer, if not earlier. Not a Vida, but should be much bigger than a WSC, and it’ll be a long walk from NOMA, Union Market, and Trinidad.

  • Wish they had turned the U-Line into a massive sports complex similar to Chelsea piers in NY. They could have incorporated REI and other sports type retail with the complex. Oh how I wish I had money….

    • Chelsea Piers is only a million times larger than Uline… plus Chelsea Piers is on the other side of the West Side Highway so putting office, resi or a hotel would be challenging… Creative office above an REI is a huge win for DC.

  • There’s a Planet Fitness coming to the Hecht’s Warehouse development. Not the same types of amenities as WSC, Vida, Results, but the membership of $10/month is far cheaper.

    • Yeah but how does one get there?

      • I’m thinking about getting in a nice 2 mile jog as a warm up/cool down. (In reality, I’ll probably drive at night.)

      • FtLincolnLove

        Bus, Uber, Car2Go, find a friend with a car? I suppose you could walk from the NoMa metro station too if it was a nice day and you were feeling up to it…

        It’s a shame how under served NE DC is when it comes to public transportation…I live in Ft Lincoln and have pretty much resigned myself to driving everywhere or taking an Uber.

        • I know there are plenty means of transportation to get there, but the GYM is something that needs to be super convenient to get to. Its hard getting motivated to go and will only be harder it’s to much of a hassle to get to. Catching buses, paying for uber is NOT helping the cause.

      • D4 bus stops right outside of the warehouse. I know it comes from DuPont but not familiar with the route generally.

      • D3 or D4 bus can get you there but it only runs every 30 minutes. If you live very close to a red line station (Noma/Eckington) you can take the Metro to Chinatown and go to Vida or WSC. You can also use the 90s buses to get to the U St Vida. There is also Atlas Fitness but it’s pretty small.

      • Hopefully, there will be parking

  • Primal Fitness is a crossfit parkour studio at 219 M Street NW, and Yoga District is at 526 H St NE.

    That being said, I concur with jwetz, most of the new buildings have gyms. We can always hope that REI puts in a climbing wall. 🙂

  • While not a full-service gym, Wired Cycling is located in Eckington at 4th and V NE.

  • The VIDA on K between 4 and 5 NW is not that far from NoMa or Eckington. Not 100% easy from NE, but the H st bus really takes only about 10-15 min to get over there.

  • There is definitely a dearth of gyms in large swaths of DC. Petworth has a huge density of residents with no gyms (absent the new Petworth Crossfit, which I’d argue is pretty specialized). Rec centers fill some of these gaps – but never really work for me personally, due to limited hours.

    • Large swaths of DC don’t have enough density to necessitate a gym. Also, many go to the gym before/after work close to where they work downtown.

      • If Clarendon and Courthouse can support multiple chain gyms, so can NE DC.

        • Compare the residential density of Clarendon/Courthouse to NE DC – it’s not remotely close.

          • You’re right – there are more people on the North side of the Hill than in Clarendon-Courthouse. Not to mention the rest of the quadrant, which is generally denser than places like Lyon Village.

      • True – though if you look at the number of large apartment buildings on Georgia Ave and surrounding blocks…and add in all the rowhouses in the neighborhood, Petworth definitely warrants having a general purpose gym. I can’t speak for NE, density wise.

        • Well, if it helps any, there IS a studio on Georgia Avenue right at Irving called From the Core Studios. It is not one of those places with machines and stuff- they specialize in classes, and have everything from kettlebell, boxing, all kinds of pilates, and boot camp, to yoga, barre, and dance classes (zumba, Doonya, etc.). I started going there and really really like it!

  • There are no gyms in my neighborhood (Palisades) either– so frustrating. But I think our issue is different — people who are stuck in their ways and veto any efforts at development that would bring new/ interesting businesses to the area because of an unreasonable fear of (1) triggering congestion (2) the neighborhood changing in any significant way. Super frustrating.

  • I’ve heard rumors that the developer building the Whole Foods project at 6th and H St NE would like to sign a large gym for the additional retail space in the project.

    • canadianexile

      That would be fantastic! On a related topic, does anyone know if the plans for the building / lot are available online?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Wasn’t that for a Vida that recently said they were no longer coming?

      • From what I’ve heard (and again, all rumor-mill based), Vida said *publicly* they weren’t coming but that there were still ongoing talks, as well as talks with other gyms.

        I think it would be a great spot. As the OP pointed out, there are no big gyms in that part of DC. I currently go to Golds SW which is decent, but I’d like something a bit closer that I can walk to.

        • I am hearing/seeing the same thing

        • justinbc

          As awesome as the Navy Yard VIDA is, I would love to switch to H Street if they open one up there and go from 2mi to .5mi to get there.

          • Membership director told me over the weekend that Vida to H st is going to happen. They restarted negotiations and they have told the staff. Deal breaker was the tax, but Vida has adjusted. I’m pumped!

          • + 1. I live near 8th and H and am a member of VIDA Navy Yards, but when it’s cold or rainy, riding a bike is too much; and at night, the journey doesn’t feel safe. I really, really hope VIDA will get over the yoga tax issue, and open on H Street NE – especially in Insight Property’s Whole Foods/Apollo building. I’d be there in a heartbeat and I usually go to the gym 6 days a week if it’s located close enough to home…. When I lived in NW (roughly 5 different parts of NW), gym proximity was never an issue – I was spoilt for choice.

          • Im also at the Navy Yard VIDA, only because I work at the Navy yard. I would totally switch to the H st. one if they built it!

        • I might be desperate enough to pay VIDA prices if I can just walk home after the gym.

  • ledroittiger

    The new trend is miniscule crossfit/other niche workout clubs, so don’t hold your breath.

    • Yeah, I don’t like cross fit and I don’t want to have to join 5 different studios to get a workout…. We need a full-service gym on H St NE.

  • Someone told me once that Gallaudet offers use of the sports facilities to residents of the neighborhood? Never checked it out to find out if it’s true or not.

    Do any of the new buildings with gyms/pools allow people in the neighborhood to purchase memberships or passes?

    • I was actually just over at Gallaudet today to get a “Gallaudet Connection” ID so I can use their track. They allow you to use the track and walk/bike around campus, but they don’t allow people to use their gyms/pool. It’s too bad…so close to me!

  • I was complaining about this recently too. It seems crazy that there isn’t any kind of midsize gym in the area at this point. I don’t really want to have to go all the way down to the Results gym by 695 or the Washington Sports Club by the LoC.

  • You could add Petworth to this list too. A Cross Fit was added (along with a nearly $200/ month membership fee), but there is not a quality gym nearby. A traditional gym would do a killing.

  • VIDA on 4th and K NW isn’t close enough?

  • +10000
    A full serivce weights and cardio gym like Gold’s or Results would be received soooooooooo well in the NoMA area. i appreciate all the yoga, spin, crossfit… but it’s not the same.

  • The reason there is no gym in your neighborhood is because no company has decided that it makes economic sense to open a gym there. The gym business – at least the large, general purpose gym – may not the best one to be in right now. I have been a member of one gym or another for at least 20 years. This is the first January I can think of when I did not see a huge new influx of members. A lot of workplaces have exercise rooms. New buildings have workout rooms. There are small specialized gyms, yoga and pilates studios. I don’t think the demand for big gyms in the city is what it used to be. I’m fairly sure WSC is struggling and that that is the reason for the new $20/mo. no frills membership plan.

    • WSC is only using that plan on their underused gyms, with lousy hours. The Columbia Heights and Dupont locations are not included.

    • I work in Membership for a Health and Wellness facility and we exceeded our goal for January but overall, yes, the “gym” business (at least our numbers) is down. I would personally love to move over to that area if my employer chose to open up over there!

  • I live on H St and my roommates and I use the Sherwood Rec Center gym- the hours aren’t the best (i think they are something like 10am-9pm M-F and fewer hours Sat, closed Sunday). That being said, it’s SUPER cheap (you can sign up for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or a year and get scaled pricing) and they have enough free weights and machines machines, and a couple treadmills, bikes, etc. I know it’s not as nice as a WSC but there’s hardly a crowd and it’s very cheap and convenient. Here’s a full list of all of the DPR Fitness Centers: http://dpr.dc.gov/page/dpr-fitness-centers

  • Re: bloomingdale, the mcmillan development will have a community center with a pool and (hopefully) fitness room. In the meantime, I’ve been using classpass, which allows me to patch together all those small studios near us – wired cycling, etc.

    • In Bloomingdale we have yoga but I would love something like VIDA or even somethign smaller like SolidCore. While both of these options are relatively close, proximity is everything when you have a limited time to workout with kids, etc.

    • What do you think of classpass? is it hard to get into the classes you want?

      • Not in our area, but Dupont or U st-area is pretty difficult. Not all studios use it, though I’m hoping they will. It is a tad expensive ($99). Honestly, not sure I’ll continue much longer as I’d probably be better off just paying one-off fees.

  • There’s a pretty glorious “gym” (and art gallery!) on West Virginia avenue in Trinidad……

  • Don’t hope too hard for a WSC. As the only CoHi gym option it looks nice on the surface and has ample cardio equipment, but the free weights and mat space is inadequate and the locker rooms are overused and under-cleaned.

    • Not to mention the ridiculous fees. I really can’t understand how they aren’t making a boatload when they charge $80+ a month.

    • Agreed. WSC-CH is right across the street from me and I stopped going. Insanely packed at all hours, free weights laying everywhere but the racks, employees do nothing but check people in. Terrible business.

      • i too go to WSC-CH, it’s pretty empty by 7:30-8 at night, although i will agree that employees do nothing but check ppl in and tell them goodnight.

  • ive thought of opening one up – im by no means knowledgeable about the gym industry, however. my biggest risk, though, is a big company like Vida will move in in 3 years and eat up marketshare. a small mom and pop gym has many risks it seems….

  • In terms of pools, Dunbar is quite close. Has anyone gone during their public hours? http://www.popville.com/2014/12/new-hours-for-the-dunbar-high-school-pool/

    I’ve also seen this, but don’t know what the deal is http://www.p-fit.com/

  • It’s definitely one of the reasons why I hesitate to move to certain neighborhoods. I think this is one of those situations where it’s likely that your office is near a gym, or one is at least on the way. I’d get a membership at one of those, and take a gym bag with you to work to go before, at lunch, or after.

  • I work at K and 1st, NE, and the site across the street where the bus station used to be is supposed to be developed into Storey Park (the drawings on their website seem to illustrate a potential gym location), but they have not broken ground yet. I’m hoping they will add a gym in that complex so that there will be one near my work, but I guess it is at least a year out if it happens… Yes, there is the Vida at 4th and K, NW – but that is six long city blocks away and not on my way for transit home. So my hopes are right there with yours!

  • trinity has a nice gym. turkey thicket rec center has a very modest gym.

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