By Jim Newell
A Planet Fitness may be coming to Orion Township later this year in the space formerly occupied by the Hollywood Markets grocery store.
Rumors of a fitness center going into the site surfaced even before Hollywood Market closed this month, but Ed Boutrous, owner of The Lake Orion Plaza, did confirm to The Lake Orion Review last week that a Planet Fitness is in the works.
It is, however, far from a done deal, said Boutrous.
Any deal is contingent on Orion Township approving a special land use request for a 24-hour facility in the plaza.
“We have applied for a special land use with Orion Township,” Boutrous said. “We have not concluded, or are close to concluding a lease agreement.”
The Orion Township Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing at 7:05 p.m. Feb. 21 for residents to weigh in on the proposed extended hour facility special land use request for Planet Fitness. The meeting is in the lower level of Township Hall, 2525 Joslyn Rd.
Township Supervisor Chris Barnett did confirm on Friday that the township had received on Wednesday a site plan and special land use request for Planet Fitness during his “Coffee with Chris” community chat at the Orion Center.
Planet Fitness is a low-cost 24-hour fitness center. Part of the special land use request is to have some lights in the plaza on overnight, Boutrous said.
There is a new Planet Fitness in Royal Oak and Boutrous said he expects the Orion Township Planet Fitness to be of the same quality.
“It’s a beautiful facility. And we think this Planet Fitness will be a really nice addition to the Orion community,” he said. “This organization is a very large franchisee, a very good, strong franchisee.”
The proposed Planet Fitness would use the entire 30,000 square foot space, and there are some changes coming to the plaza.
The canopy on a portion of the Hollywood Markets building will be removed and the pillars will be covered up. “We’re pretty excited to be able to upgrade,” Boutrous said, adding that more improvements would likely be made in the plaza in the future.
There was an immediate backlash from the community once it was announced that Hollywood Markets would close its Orion Township store. Many people blamed The Boutrous Companies – which owns the plaza – for not coming to a lease agreement with Hollywood.
Boutrous says that, despite the rumors swirling online, the family-owned Boutrous Companies had nothing against Hollywood Market and did not try to force them out, as some people have claimed.
“As a landlord, you don’t really like losing a tenant,” said Boutrous, who also owns The Shops at the Shores plaza on Lapeer Road with Kroger. “We’re Lake Orion guys. We care about the community.”
“No one really got rid of Hollywood (Markets). It was in their plans to close,” Barnett said, adding that the Orion Township store was one of the companies underperforming stores.