WILTON MANORS – On October 1, Island City Health and Fitness (ICHF) will merge with New York City based Steel Gym, creating a partnership that includes three world class facilities, and plans for a larger network of gyms to come.
“By every possible measure, this is a positive step for the club and for the members,” said Reece Darham, ICHF’s managing director and a partner in the new merger, which will introduce the Steel brand to Wilton Manors and Greater Fort Lauderdale.
Steel—based in Manhattan’s Tony Chelsea area—is owned by fitness authority Ken Hunt, whose purchase last year of Idol’s Gym in Miami brought him into contact with ICHF, and led to the merger discussions. Darham says the benefits for members speak for themselves.
“There will be no price change for existing members,” of ICHF, he says. “These are lifetime rates.” In addition, “I’m not leaving,” Darham insists, with a laugh. His insistence aside, he says the rumor mill has been running at full steam since word of the negotiations leaked.
“I was sitting in the middle of the Mediterranean,” Darham relates, half in laughter, the other half incredulous. “And I get a message, ‘I heard you sold the gym, and have left the country.’ Mind you, I have taken a summer trip every year since before I can remember, and I’m barely packed for a scheduled holiday when the rumors start flying.”
Beginning October 1, ICHF will be a division of Steel Gym. Darham says the goal is to transition to the Steel Gym brand over the next 12 months. “There will be ‘zero’ loss to the members, only gains,” he insists. “We want the members to be comfortable with the transition, and know that their memberships will be responsibly transitioned.”
With that in mind, Darham and Hunt have announced that effective October 1, 2012 and continuing through January 31, 2013, ICHF memberships will be honored at all three Steel locations, Manhattan, Miami, and Wilton Manors. Starting February 1, Miami and Wilton Manors members will pay a nominal charge (“Something like $5 a month” according to Darham) to use Steel Gym’s New York facility. “This just reflects the reality of how expensive it is to work out in Manhattan,” says Darham.
“It’s around $80 a month for a membership to the New York gym.”
Darham, who is also cochair of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Rainbow Business Coalition (RBC) and serves as an envoy for the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), says that upgrades to ICHF are set to be implemented. These include an additional 10-ton a/c unit in the aerobics studio, renovations to the bathrooms (with touchless soap dispensers and hand dryers among them), new workout equipment, major exterior renovations, a new color scheme (“red, black, silver, and white”), and an increase in both the number of group training sessions and the way the gym approaches personal training.
“We’re very excited, what can I say?” Darham offers. “One thing that will never change is our community involvement, and our commitment to keeping our promises.”