Another new West Seattle business, coming to 42nd/Admiral

After more than two years, the “Auto Buff Is Moving” banner is finally about to come down at 42nd/Admiral – because the building’s getting a facelift, with someone new moving in: Eric Renn talked to WSB today about his new “athletic gym,” taking over the long-vacant former Auto Buff space. Our discussion also reveals a bit about the future of the corner in general – previously slated for a mixed-use development with a “grocery store” once rumored to be the ever-elusive Trader Joe’s – read on to find out more:

Renn says he’s just signed a five-year lease for the space with owner Marc Gartin; we first reported here last November that parts of the block were being offered for lease, so it was clear than that development plans are on hold. (Renn says that while other new tenants are in the works, the dry cleaning company is staying.) “I think I can bring life back to that building,” he says.

If his name sounds familiar – he operated the somewhat shortlived West Seattle Digital north of Morgan Junction, next to the now-out-of-business Puget Sound Key and Lock. Renn says his business wasn’t helped by two fires — first the unsolved arson at the locksmith shop, then an accidental fire in his storefront to the south — but in the end, he says, this is better suited to his interests, because his passion lies with fitness.

For now, the business name is CF West Seattle (official name to be announced soon); Renn is in business with Rob Martin, and says both are North Admiral residents. With West Seattle having already welcomed new fitness businesses recently, such as Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness (WSB sponsors), we asked Renn about what he planned to offer that might be different:

“It’s going to be a group training gym for all ages … particularly good for people who are trying to save money on gym memberships. People will be able to get coached in small group training … like a Curves approach, sort of … but when you walk in you won’t see a bunch of machines. It will be radically different from what you think of a gym … may be kind of retro, more like gymnastics types, ropes from the ceiling, Olympic rings, pullup bars, kettle bells, dumbbells, all the things put on the back burner when the big box industry went mainstream with all the body building type machines,” he explained, continuing, “I realized the average person is not a bodybuilder who comes into a gym, and those who are would join a gym that caters to bodybuilding … what I try to do is get direction … working on someone’s range of motions where they can get moving again … exercise doesn’t have to be as strenuous as you think it might … when you are doing it with other people, you realize (you) can do it!”

For now, though, clearing out the space is a big task – if you go by, you’ll see that work going on (note the trucks in the photo at the top of this story). Renn says they’re hoping to be open June 1st, and then expecting to have a grand-opening celebration in early July. They’re planning to be involved with and sponsoring community events as well, such as a liver-disease awareness- and fund-raising walk that’s coming up.

“We’re going to bring life and amazing energy” to the space, he concludes – energetically, of course.

17 Replies to "Another new West Seattle business, coming to 42nd/Admiral"

  • JanS April 16, 2009 (5:01 pm)

    now, let’s see if we can get some life back into the Admiral Benbow and Luther’sPub/TNT..whatever it is. It really needs sprucing up. Marc Gartin? You out there? Any plans for that?

  • zerodacus April 16, 2009 (5:20 pm)

    Luther’s Pub, that takes me back, I was on their softball team about 100 years ago.

  • 56bricks April 16, 2009 (6:47 pm)

    Try The Happy Hour about 150 years ago. It was owned by the same guy who opened The Embers on Alki where I bartended at least 175 years ago.

  • Elisabeth April 16, 2009 (8:22 pm)

    Ahh, Embers… great dance place in the 80s! I saw Annie Rose and the Thrillers there, and met this guy… well, never mind! RIP, Embers.

  • GenHillOne April 16, 2009 (8:44 pm)

    Another gym? Geesh, no offense, but are we really that healthy? New gyms are keeping up with nail salons this year, LOL – *said with butt firmly planted on couch* Better bring the Benbow and TNT back to balance things out :)

  • fluorescent carl April 16, 2009 (9:27 pm)

    a gym here, coffee here, dog and Cat store here, a gym here, coffee here, dog and Cat store here,a gym here, coffee here, dog and Cat store here, Oh and a Big hole next to the bowling alley:) Now I think thats a rather smart plan…

  • Forest April 17, 2009 (1:08 am)

    At least for the benefit of healthy appearances, I hope the gym tenancy can incorporate some bike racks and planters and a pedestrian lobby entrance to tone down the present streetfront of bare asphalt and covered driveway entries.

  • 56bricks April 17, 2009 (6:06 am)

    I’m not against “progress” but West Seattle’s character is disappearing. With density and gentrification (attitude?) it feels like the old sense of community is eroding. I’ve only been here 40 years (not the previously stated 175) but I’m shopping for small towns. Like West Seattle used to be. Elisabeth-we had an Embers reunion in August 2002 and it was like a trip down that ‘ole memory lane. Unfortunately Kerry (the owner) passed away a few years ago but the memories of the Embers and what was West Seattle will live on. Oh yeah Carl, I’m looking to open a dog and cat nail shop with a gym that serves coffee and sells real estate(townhouses/condos) located in a big hole. Any help here?

  • Angie Vigilante April 17, 2009 (7:59 am)

    I would like to welcome Eric Renn to the neighborhood. I think I am not alone in saying that it will be a blessing to have at least one more business liven up this block. Truth is, there are old guys in this neighborhood that actually do business and drink coffee and get their nails done and exercise. When the old whiney ones move out it will just help improve the demographics!

  • Hipper Admiral April 17, 2009 (8:58 am)

    Blah…I am so bummed out. I though Trader Joes was going in there! Not to curb Renn’s enthusiasm, but another half-ass gym?! Look, if you can get people to the gym it the first place it’s a small miracle…but people want the perks of hot tub and sauna as their mini-reward! If I can’t have TJs I think a ½ decent coffee shop should go in there to put the kibosh on Starbuck’s across the street. They do awesome business for mediocre (at best) coffee!!!

  • WSB April 17, 2009 (9:29 am)

    Have you tried Revolution Coffee in the building west of Jack in the Box, on the south side of the street? Anyone looking for alternatives at California/Admiral can go there or to the Metropolitan Market coffee bar. And Freshy’s is only a few blocks south on California.
    As for TJ’s, that may once have been a possibility in the once-planned development at the corner, but it’s been long dead. I’ve said this many times before but I’m quite certain they’ll EVENTUALLY come up with a West Seattle location. Keep writing to TJ’s corporate!
    – TR

  • Johnny Davies April 17, 2009 (9:58 am)

    I think this gym sounds like a good idea. I’ve heard of “underground” gyms where people train by lifting tires, pushing heavy objects, climbing ropes, etc. Real life stuff. There are sooo many gyms packed with expensive weight machines that really give a mediocre workout – a “reality” gym is a good idea. Training the body with real-life movements would be fun and hit the muscles from all angles vs. a single-plane-hampster-workout machine. I’m not associated with the owner at all, but I think it could be good.

  • blill davies April 17, 2009 (12:55 pm)

    Does the CF stand for cross fit ?

  • WSB April 17, 2009 (1:05 pm)

    Eric said some details were still being worked out and it couldn’t be disclosed just yet but when it can be … you’ll see the banner out in front … haven’t been by yet today so could be there now for all I know, though it didn’t sound that IMMEDIATELY impending … TR

  • Eric Renn April 17, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    Greeting Everyone, Our entire space, inside and out will be much more pleasing to the eye than it has been. We welcome all comments and suggestions on what you would like to see.

    Forest, We are planning on installing bike racks and planters. The lobby entrance will get a face lift as well.

    Thanks for the welcome Angie.

    Johnny, you hit the nail on the head with the reality gym quote. Please join us when we open, we promise not to disappoint.

    Our official name will be announced soon, stay tuned.

    We will offer free covered parking for our members in the lot behind the building.

  • m33 April 17, 2009 (11:09 pm)

    If this indeed what I think it is, THANK YOU!!!!!

    I’ve been hoping for a crossfit in WS forever! I was driving to ballard for awhile, I was even recently considerig queen ann but still dreading the traffic. Please let it be a crossfit- Don’t let these people deter you. And for everyone complaining, I’d like to see you do even one week of crossift (period)and then try and call it “just another gym”. A gym is where you go to maybe get a work out. Crossfit is where you go to change.

    An old mechanic shop? Sounds dirty, cold and hard-perfect for crossfit!

  • javalover April 24, 2009 (3:26 pm)

    Dear Hipper Admiral – there IS a dynamite coffee shop (*Bucks alternative) right across the street: Cafe Revolution! The best in our corner of W.Seattle….try it!

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