The search for a new tenant to occupy the vacant Albertson's grocery store at Newport Road and Murrieta Road may be coming to an end.
Red Mountain Retail Group on Thursday submitted an application for tenant improvements at the Albertson's location, which has been vacant since the store closed its doors in February 2011. That application still has to go before the Planning Commission, however. In addition, according to Eric Nelson of Red Mountain, escrow on the sale of the property from Albertson's to his company will not close for a few weeks.
But that hasn't stopped one business from advertising for clients and promoting that site as its new home.
Fitness 19, which already has gym locations in Temecula, Wildomar and Murrieta, mailed promotional fliers to Menifee residents this week, advertising a new location planned for the "former Albertson's" in Menifee. The chain, which has more than 170 locations across the country, promotes itself as a more affordable workout facility than its competitors.
Fitness 19's standard membership fee is $19 per month. In this promotion, however, the first 150 people to call and reserve a spot in the new gym are promised a $9 per month fee for life. According to Micah Brock, a regional supervisor for Fitness 19, there were about 50 spots left at that rate as of Friday morning.
"They're almost gone," he said. "After that, we offer 150 people $12 a month. We're not taking any revenue at this point, just allowing people to reserve spots. We should be open in two or three months. There's not a lot of demo work to do in there."
As Nelson confirmed, however, there's no way any business could open in that location that soon. In fact, he was unaware Fitness 19 had begun promoting a business there.
"It's news to me," he said. "We don't even close escrow until later this month. We have cut a deal with the gym to lease about 30 percent of the property, but I'm always cautious until sales are finalized and city approval is granted. It's a long process."
Asked whether it was possible his company could clear all the hurdles in time for Fitness 19 to open in the next three months, Nelson said, "There's no way it could be that soon."
Nelson said the property space is 56,121 square feet. About 18,000 of that would be devoted to the gym. He said the most likely scenario is to divide the property into three businesses. Red Mountain officials are hopeful of attracting a discount grocery store for one of the spot, he said, but that the return of a big chain supermarket is not likely.
"We've gone to all the big grocery stores," Nelson said. "Nobody is interested in that site. Because it was already an Albertson's, none of them are interested in stepping into that space. But we love that site, we love Menifee, and we know this is a great opportunity to bring businesses back to that center."
Nelson said his group is purchasing only the part of the complex formerly owned by Albertson's. The adjoining business space is owned by another company.
According to Brock, the Fitness 19 gym would be almost twice the size of other local Fitness 19 gyms. According to him, the gym would not include a pool but would have a variety of workout machines and would offer about 50 aerobics classes per week.
Menifee 24/7 is conducting a contest asking readers what type of business they would like to see there. We're offering a $50 VISA card to the person emailing the best suggestion to email@example.com. Because of this news, our contest deadline has been moved to 5 p.m. today. Readers are encouraged to continue sending ideas about any kind of business for that location. Even if Fitness 19 is approved, it will not be the only tenant there.