Five-level fitness center brings new player to downtown Sacramento

Playing basketball on top of a new downtown gym on K Street overlooking the skyline and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Kevin Thomas put on a shooting exhibition for his pals and reminded them that he was the king of the court.

“I’m going to like coming here,” Thomas said.

Thomas spoke about California Family Fitness, which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday at its health club on K street with a pre-summer block party featuring a Zumba dance party and Sacramento Kings dancers.

The five-level, 32,000-square-foot gym, which opened in May, offers members amenities including the rooftop basketball court and lounge, and a recreational center.

Local elected officials believe the $4.5 million development will bring more foot traffic to K Street. The new gym at 1012 K St. sits adjacent to an influx of entertainment venues, restaurants and bars, including Pizza Rock and District 30.

“Opening (K Street) to cars brought a lot more people to the street and a feeling of safety. Having (California Family Fitness) along with KBAR and Assembly (nightclub) has helped as we fill in the rest of the block,” said Councilman Steve Hansen, whose District 4 represents the central city neighborhoods.

With the planned downtown arena on the horizon and talks to redevelop the blighted stretches of the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street with housing and retail shops, Hansen said revitalization of the urban core has excited many owners of downtown businesses.

“With the arena driving all of the activity, if we can get some of the housing projects done, like 700K, it will make a huge difference in the sustainability of these developments,” Hansen said.

D&S Development and CFY Development of Sacramento have plans to redevelop rundown empty storefronts east of the Downtown Plaza. The group hopes to construct 137 apartments, behind 12 to 15 retail storefronts fronting the K Street Mall.

Chad Snyder, assistant manager at KBAR, hopes the developers come through with their plans.

“It’s a game-changer, that’s for sure” Synder said. “Downtown looks promising.”

The arrival of the fitness center had more to do with replacing its cramped Fourth and J streets gym than the resurgence of downtown activity, said Randy Karr, California Family Fitness president.

Karr worked with the city Economic Development Department and the city of Sacramento to rehab the former Rite Aid building.

“A lot of people think we moved here because of the arena, but we already signed the lease before finding out (the Kings) were going to end up staying,” said Karr, whose company operates 18 gyms throughout the Sacramento region. “It all came together at the same time.”

Still, Karr is happy to be in the center of the action.

“We couldn’t be in a better location, in the heart of downtown,” he said.

Looking for a gym nearby, Kelsey Anderson stopped by the club to get a preview at what she called, “arguably the best gym in Sacramento.”

“I think this is going to be the place to work out,” Anderson said. “It’s very accessible to people who work downtown.”