Is Sweat Fitness’ Broad Street Location Ever Going to Open?

It was supposed to open February 1, 2017.

Photograph of Sweat Fitness’ 1 South Broad Street location by Caroline Cunningham.

When we reported, way back in December 2016, that Sweat Fitness’ Arch Street gym would be closing, we also reported that the gym chain would be opening a new location at 1 South Broad Street in February 2017. Yet, here we are, nearly a year later, and not only is the gym still unopened — we’re no closer to knowing when it will.

That hasn’t stopped Sweat Fitness from seeking members to join. On December 22, 2016, Sweat sent out an email offering a $40 monthly membership for a new location they said would open February 1, 2017.

Alex Shirreffs, a 38-year-old project coordinator at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, says he jumped on the offer due to the new gym’s proximity to his office. The gym sounded pretty slick, after all: 25,000 square feet, top-of-the-line equipment, and boutique-style classes galore. Shirreffs signed up for a membership. But then February rolled around, and there was still no gym.

On February 28, 2017, Shirreffs received another email from Sweat Fitness, now saying that 1 South Broad Street would open on April 15, 2017. The email highlighted “construction delays,” but did not elaborate on why the opening had been bumped back by two and a half months.

“We do understand the inconveniences the construction delays may have caused and sincerely apologize for it but know our new location will be well worth the wait!” the email read.

The update also offered to roll back the first billing date on Shirreffs’ membership, which was suppose to kick in on March 1. But then April rolled around, and there was still no gym.

On June 19, the gym tweeted that they would be opening at the end of the summer.

But then (you know where this is going, right?), the end of the summer rolled around, and there was still no gym. Since then, many requests for an opening date over Twitter have been met with vague responses of “soon.”

In November, the gym chain tweeted that they didn’t want to provide an opening date. “We don’t want to give specific updates on the chance that there is another delay,” they tweeted. “We want to give the best realistic date for our members.”

On December 11, 2017, Sweat Fitness sent out another email, with “We KNOW we MESSED UP” in the subject line. In the email, they said the delayed opening has been “a royal pain for everyone” and apologized. Then they went on to offer a $1 first-month membership rate for those who hung onto the email.

Still without an opening date, we gave Sweat Fitness’ Queen Village location a call to see if we could get any additional, less-vague information about the Broad Street location. After learning we needed to contact Erin Murphy, Sweat’s marketing director, we sent her an email. She wrote back and said, “We are picking the date this week and will have it to you when it is decided.”

In a call, Murphy said she was not able to tell us why the opening was delayed, but she did say that those who signed up for memberships could still use any of Sweat Fitness’ other locations. Additionally, Murphy explained that Sweat Fitness gave the members the option to put their memberships on a hold (and therefore suspend payments) until the new location opened.

On January 8, 2018, we went to 1 South Broad Street to see if it looked like Sweat Fitness would be opening anytime soon. We found paper over the windows, exposed beams overhead, and cardboard on the floor.

The Sweat Fitness doors and Sweat Fitness entryway at 1 South Broad. Photographs by Caroline Cunningham

At the time of publication, our email request for information on the cause of the delays had not been returned. Our request for comment from the building manager was also not returned. We will update this story with any additional information about the opening date as it becomes available.

Update: After publication of this story, Sweat Fitness management provided the following formal response: 

“We hoped to be open much sooner but delays in a construction project of this magnitude are common. Most recently we are delayed due to frozen and burst pipes which caused significant damage. During this time we have kept an open dialogue with our members and have offered to suspend monthly payments until the new location is open, cancelled memberships with no penalty, waived the initial month’s fee, and have also offered discounted monthly dues towards our other seven convenient locations. At SWEAT Fitness our first priority is always our members and we will be open and looking forward to best serving them as soon as possible.”

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