Tuesday, May 28, 2024


The former Social Security offices on Elm Street in Davis Square may soon be filled after more than three years’ vacancy. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The former Social Security offices on Elm Street in Davis Square may soon be filled after more than three years’ vacancy. (Photo: Marc Levy)

A new gym is coming to Davis Square, giving Boston Sports Club its first competition since opening in late 2007 – and it’s filling much of the massive former Social Security offices that have been empty since August 2010.

Charles River Realty Group of West Roxbury confirmed Tuesday that the New York-based Crunch fitness company was coming to the space at 240 Elm St.

It will be taking some 1,800 square feet, including part of the ground floor, said Justin Ferris, of Charles River Realty. At a neighborhood meeting held Monday at the site that drew some 60 residents, it was proposed that a restaurant and brewery called Somerville Beer Works take up the rest of the ground floor – coming close to the rumors from May that the chain World of Beer  was to be a tenant.

“He’s a local guy with a good operation,” said Ferris of Beer Works’ founder and owner Joe Slesar, who runs a seven-site chain out of Boston offices. But the restaurant still needs to go through a city licensing process.

It was too early to put opening dates on either business, Ferris said. There will be another meeting at the site, tentatively pegged at Oct. 7, for further discussion.

Crunch, founded in 1989, says it began by “doing away with traditional notions of what a ‘serious’ workout should be” and bringing in creative instructors who came up with such programs as Hip-Hop Aerobics, Co-Ed Action Wrestling and Cyked Yoga Cycling – and that “more than two decades later, Crunch is still a gym that believes in making serious exercise fun by fusing fitness and entertainment and holding true to a philosophy of No Judgments.”

Crunch lists 45 locations in 10 states serving 200,000 customers, but this would be its first location in Massachusetts.

Before the Social Security offices arrive in Davis Square in 1987, following the arrival of the red line, the site was known as the Marks Building. It’s served as temporary art space since the Social Security offices left, but has otherwise remained a vast empty space in the heart of an otherwise thriving square. The building has a combined 2,700 square feet, Ferris said.

Davis Square’s 15,000-square-foot club Boston Sports Club facility includes a sauna, a kid’s playroom and baby-sitting, and while the size of Crunch would top it, what amenities Crunch would offer was unclear. Questions were left Tuesday with a company publicist.

Crunch is considered a midpriced fitness club, touting monthly rates starting at $9.95 and running to $19.95 for a premium package. The gyms have been known to charge $29 annual fees and sign-up fees of up to $49. It survived a bankruptcy protection filing in 2009.

Next story: High-end grocery is latest considering Davis Square building empty 14 years