The vandal-hit former Total Fitness gym at Waterloo is still on course to re-open – as a gym.
A regional gym operator is set to sign a lease for the premises and invest £1 million in a fit-out expected to take around four months.
Confirmation that the gym on the Tandem Industrial Estate off Wakefield Road is set to re-open comes as the building has become a magnet for so-called “urban explorers.”
The gym has been closed since 2020 and its parent company was forced to shut it down permanently in March 2021 as part of a Company Voluntary Agreement with creditors.
Videos and pictures on social media show smashed and boarded up windows and graffiti on the walls at the back. There was also said to be a strong stench of sewage.
Inside windows are smashed, locks have been broken and the swimming pools are said to contain black water that smells “nasty.”
In the last week or so videos have been posted on YouTube by at least three different “urban explorers” who have been inside.
In a video by an urban explorer called Bearded Reality, a man with the explorer climbs up to an apparently open window and goes inside. He then opens a door to let Bearded Reality inside.
As they go round the building they hear noises which they at first dismiss as pigeons but later in the video the pair encounter a group of hooded youths.
When one of the youths asks what would happen if the police were called, Bearded Reality replies: “I won’t get arrested, mate. I can prove I did not break into anywhere.”
Another YouTube video was shared by Project Urbex on Facebook and as the camera pans round a breathless explorer said: “Bit of a climb but we got in.”
There’s also another video doing the rounds from UK Urbex who also told viewers he had to climb to get in it and added: “It wasn’t the easiest of explores.”
Huddersfield Hub reported last year how a regional gym operator was close to signing a lease however there have been delays, not least caused by vandalism and damage by intruders.
In one vandal attack every pane of glass inside the building was said to have been smashed. There is no suggestion any of the “urban explorers” have caused any of the damage.
The landlord has carried out repair work to the fabric of the building, including the roof, and the building is ready to be handed over to the new tenant.
A spokesman for the agents said: “There’s every expectation that the lease will be signed and completed in July and the operator will then embark on a £1 million fit-out and the gym should open before the end of the year.”
The former Total Fitness gym was one of Huddersfield’s largest gyms and had been operating for over 20 years. There was much disappointment when the gym failed to re-open after lockdown with people having fond memories of the place.