Work begins on new Planet Fitness, Life Church expansion

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — Work has begun for an expansion at Life Church and the new Planet Fitness on Jake Alexander Boulevard.

Chris Shelton, lead pastor of Life Church, said the expansion is a continuation of work that started in 2009 when High Rock Community Church moved into the space at 708 Jake Alexander Blvd. W.

Life Church separated from High Rock and Shelton said he wanted the church to stay at the property.

About 700 people attend the church during weekends. The expansion will include a new lobby, offices and classroom space.

“Those are things that have been very needed,” he said.

The new spaces will provide places for activities and events for the church, as well as for partners in the community.

The work will also include renovating the current auditorium and lobby.

Shelton said he did not want to enlarge the building if it meant the church would not be able to be as generous towards the community.

“We didn’t feel like doubling that space was a wise step for us financially,” he said.

The expansion would add about 8,000 square feet to the church, John Leatherman, State Farm agent and owner of the property, said.

For Shelton and the church, it is not about having a large facility; it is about helping the community and changing lives.

“We want this facility to reflect, as much as possible, Life Church and our mission,” he said.

Shelton said he wants to be a good neighbor to Planet Fitness and continue to be a good neighbor to the Hurley YMCA at 828 Jake Alexander Blvd. W.

Leatherman said workers are clearing out everything in the space for Planet Fitness, leaving just the floor and walls. The gym will take up about 22,000 square feet of space at 712 Jake Alexander Blvd.

There will be a new roof on the property and doors and windows will be cut into the front of the building.

Leatherman said that although the Planet Fitness will be next door to the Hurley YMCA, the two businesses are “totally different operations.” He also said it will increase competition in the area.

“The public has choices and choices are a good thing,” he said.

Leatherman said he thinks the different businesses in the area complement each other.

“It’s an active area that’s going to get more active,” he said.

There is currently about 2,400 square feet of available space next to Planet Fitness.

The gym plans to open this fall.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.