Downtown Aspen Gets A New (Old) Health Club

There’s one more place to pump iron or get your spin on in Aspen these days.  After a two-month closure, the former Aspen Athletic Club reopened under a new name and new ownership on Nov. 1. Jean-Robert Barbette opened J.R.’s Gym in the 12,000-square-foot downstairs space of the building at the corner of Hyman and Original. Added to the higher-end facility he’s had and added to for 20 years on the top floor of the building, the Belgian fitness master now controls 16,000 square feet of prime downtown workout space.

“Seventy people were in here on Monday morning, former Aspen Athletic Club members,” Barbette said. “They were all so happy to see each other, to be back.”

Barbette won a lease war earlier this year when building owner CM LLC, represented locally by John Martin, awarded him the lease for the space. Aspen Club and Spa owner Michael Fox had also been negotiating for the space after he and Aspen Athletic Club owner Bill Hoffner merged their businesses, with the Aspen Club buying the Hoffner’s membership list in the process. There were also supposedly negotiations with national chain Gold’s Gym.

The owners went with Barbette, he said, when he offered to take over the upstairs space formerly occupied by real estate firm Coates, Reid and Waldron, which fell victim to the recession. The catch was, he had to take over the Aspen Athletic Club space as well.   But the landlords also share Barbette’s vision, he said, which includes renovating and modernizing the gym spaces bit by bit...  See Full Story Here

by Catherine Lutz, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
Saturday, November 7, 2009 

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