Gold’s Gym Sydney in Surry Hills is set to close this month because the gay and lesbian community didn’t return the gym’s support and loyalty, the co-owner has claimed.

Under plans being considered by the City of Sydney, the Pelican St gym will be demolished and turned into a 15-storey apartment building.

However Bayswater Fitness in Surry Hills, KX Fitness in Kings Cross, three other community gyms in the eastern suburbs and another out west will be converted to the international Gold’s Gym franchise.

The new franchisees will honour existing memberships to the local icon after it closes on 29 June, and will continue sponsoring gay and lesbian groups and charities.

Gym co-owner Dr Mark Eisman told Sydney Star Observer he was disappointed the gay and lesbian community weren’t more supportive of the gym after a Fitness First opened just 20 metres away, but developing this property has given us money to expand, he said.

Eisman could not confirm details of the four unnamed gyms or the expected re-opening timeframes if the Pelican St apartment project is approved.

We’ll have something to do with them, but they will not run by me, he said, as he would be taking over as Gold’s Asia/Pacific regional coordinator.

Gold’s has sponsored and offered free memberships for many HIV/AIDS charities and sporting groups in the local gay and lesbian community since opening in 2000.

Eisman also arranged discounts and free memberships for transferring customers from FitX Gym, which ran an affordable program for HIV positive people out of ACON’s headquarters, until the gym closed in 2006.

The group will continue supporting the gay and lesbian community, KX Fitness owner Daniel Didomenico said, adding it would compete on service and atmosphere.

The new 15-storey apartment building on Pelican St will include a cafe/bar on the ground floor and 57 serviced apartments, with a construction cost of more than $15.2 million. Outstanding memberships after 29 June can be redeemed or transferred.

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