The doors of the former Office Depot in Schoolhouse Square were open this week as crews prepare the space for a new tenant. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

The doors of the former Office Depot in Schoolhouse Square were open this week as crews prepare the space for a new tenant. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

A new gym is tabbed for Schoolhouse Square.

It’s location? Right next to an existing gym.

Last week, Gary Miller with Utah-based Cumming Construction Inc. submitted an application for a permit at 5045 River Road North, the former site of the Office Depot. The office supply store closed in 2009 and the building in the middle of Schoolhouse Square – which is under new ownership – has been vacant ever since.

When the Keizertimes visited the site on Jan. 8, the large poster telling the nearest Office Depot location in Salem was still on display, as well as a for rent sign.

By Monday morning, doors were open and cleaning could be seen taking place.

According to the permit filed with Marion County last week, B Fit Health Club is coming in. Tenant improvements to the building are listed as being worth $600,000.

Miller referred questions to Connie Koska, the San Diego, Calif.-based construction project manager with 24 Hour Fitness. Koska did not return messages from the Keizertimes seeking comment, but a worker at the vacant site on Monday said a gym is indeed coming in.

Darren Bloch, principal with Bellevue, Wash.-based Bloch Properties, noted his company closed on the purchase of Schoolhouse Square in December and has some prospective tenants for other spaces as well. One of the other spaces in Schoolhouse Square is the former Roth’s grocery store, which closed in the spring of 2012. Especially since the Haggen store closed last September, there has been intense speculation around town about whether a smaller grocer could take over the former Roth’s space.

“I do have some plans for the building,” Bloch said. “We have a number of things we’re working on.”

As for the gym coming, Bloch said it wasn’t his call about publicizing the news.

“I’m the landlord,” he said. “I really need to leave it up to the tenant to decide that. It’s not my place to decide if they want to tell. I will let them decide what they are willing to say. They can approach it however they want to do it.”

One of the more intriguing aspects of a new gym coming in is the fact Anytime Fitness has its own 24-hour gym right next door. Messages left by the Keizertimes for Eric Martin, owner and manager of that gym, were not returned.

UPDATE: After the Jan. 15 issue of the paper went to press, multiple gym members told the Keizertimes an announcement was posted on the Anytime Fitness bulletin board the gym would be closing at the end of January.