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Columbia Athletic Club, 4502 Forest Drive: 1 June 2008 (ownership)/April 2009 (building)   22 comments

Posted at 4:32 pm in Uncategorized

I had heard that Gold's Gym was coming to Forest Drive, and wondered what effect it would have on Columbia Athletic Club.

It appears from this story that the owner decided, having been handed a pig, that he'd better put some lipstick on it and do a Kent Brockman "And I, for one, welcome our new Gold's overlords". Actually, I agree. Realistically there's no way they could compete in the long-term with Gold's and this is a win-win by giving Gold's an early entry into the neighboorhood and giving a leg-up to current members and employees. Of course, since I've never set foot in a gym, it's all pretty academic as far as I'm concerned...

Presumably, this means that Woodfield's Barber & Beauty will have to relocate even after dodging the bullet of having the plaza featuring their sign demolished.

UPDATE 30 January 2010: Well, Gold's Gym moved in and out, now open in their new digs at the old Forest Drive Church. The building is vacant and for sale now. I took the opportunity of the empty parking lot to get a good number of additional pictures, including some over the back wall -- this is the first time I have ever seen the pool there. It appears that one of the second story picture windows is out for some reason.

UPDATE 5 April 2012 -- I thought I would get some more pictures before work on the conversion for Trader Joe's commences:





















UPDATE 1 June 2012: Trader Joe's is coming, see the comments for details. Meanwhile, asbestos removal and interior demolition have started:




















6 June 2012:

17 June 2012:

UPDATE 26 June 2012 -- Work progresses in these 24 June pix. Half of the silhouettes look like reverse atomic shadows now:

















UPDATE 18 July 2012 -- Really, I don't see why they didn't knock the whole building down. Apparently they are using absolutely none of it other than the walls themselves. Given that none of the rest matched what they want, it's hard to believe the walls just happened to be 100% perfect! The pool persists as a water filled hole in the ground for now (pix 15 July 2012):










26 August 2012:

23 September 2012:

21 October 2012:

The pool:

UPDATE 30 October 2012 -- The Trader Joe's sign went up today:






1 December 2012:

5 January 2013:

20 January 2013:

29 January 2013:

17 February 2013:

17 March 2013:









UPDATE 6 January 2013: Added 6 June 2012 photoset.

UPDATE 6 March 2013: Added a bunch of photosets.

UPDATE 23 March 2013 -- And Trader Joe's is open:




Photoset 6 June 2012

Photoset 7 June 2012

Photoset 12 June 2012

Photoset 17 June 2012

Photoset 24 June 2012

Photoset 2 July 2012

Photoset 15 July 2012

Photoset 26 August 2012

Photoset 9 September 2012

Photoset 23 September 2012

Photoset 21 Octover 2012

Photoset 30 October 2012

Photoset 1 December 2012

Photoset 5 January 2013

Photoset 20 January 2013

Photoset 29 January 2013

Photoset 3 February 2013

Photoset 17 February 2013

Written by ted on May 28th, 2008

Tagged with , , , ,

22 Responses to 'Columbia Athletic Club, 4502 Forest Drive: 1 June 2008 (ownership)/April 2009 (building)'

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  1. I lamented when CAC sold out to Gold's Gym. Gold's is run like the mafia. Once they get you as a member, they will not let you out of the contract. I moved out of state and they still won't recognize my request to end the contract. I do contract work that has me moving around the country, so I regret signing up when I did.


    6 Dec 09 at 11:34 pm

  2. I noticed on Monday 1/18/10 that there is work being done on the old Columbia Athletic Club. There was a crew removing old exercise equipment through a 2nd story window with a forklift. They must be salvaging it because it was going into a pickup and trailer.


    19 Jan 10 at 11:56 am

  3. I know I have a one track mind with recording studios taking over old abandoned buildings, but this place would make one fantastic recording studio/media complex. The rooms are huge - very tall ceilings - and as I remember it, a few have really nice hardwood floors. More than enough room to have a couple of studios and control rooms, plus room for a recreation room, a reception area, a decent office, and even storage. Maybe one audio recording room/control room pair, and one video studio/control room pair, all synced together with some form of LAN. If that wasn't enough, in the summer when you get totally stressed out during a tense session, you could take a swim in the pool. If I were the guys over at the Jam Room, the ones who have recording courses in conjunction with Midlands Tech, I'd seriously think about this building. If I had a few spare million or 5 good investors, that's what I would do. Any takers?

    Instead, this building will probably be torn down and replaced by some form of strip mall. Just curious folks, what would YOU like to see this building repurposed as? What business could possibly make sense of the structure as is? I would truly enjoy reading some suggestions. My suggestion is a studio complex, what's yours?

    Michael Taylor

    30 Jan 10 at 6:05 pm

  4. I’m actually quite happy –and surprised- to learn that this club is now GONE. I'm from Columbia, but I've lived in lots of different cities since then and I always have lamented that there were NO really decent work out facilities anywhere in this town -you had to go way on the outskirts. I was in there as recently as 2007 (I think… it could have been 2003, though) and their weightlifting equipment was completely inferior and outdated to most clubs in other cities, and their prices were ludicrous.

    I actually have heard that several decent clubs have tried to come into town but were inevitably not approved for a license. Yes, this is all hearsay, but I’ve heard enough people say that they thought that some backroom deals were going on so that the crappy little health clubs in Columbia like CAC and the one at Woodhill Mall could keep eeking out their existence. Seriously… think about how lousy those places have been and how little competition they’ve had for the past two decades –years in which most cities built YMCA’s with two full sized indoor swimming pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and the latest weight lifting equipment.

    Anyway, this is a great victory for Columbia having a full sized Gold’s Gym up the street –if it’s been built (I haven’t been down that stretch of road since 2007). That’s at least a START.


    21 Jul 11 at 7:11 pm

  5. Yes, the Gold's is definitely open..


    21 Jul 11 at 10:53 pm

  6. @OverMachoGrande they moved into the former Forest Drive [Baptist] Church. Forest Drive Baptist Church dropped out of the SBC and wound up renaming themselves NorthStar Christian Center and relocating out to 817 Longtown Road in Northeast Richland.


    21 Jul 11 at 11:17 pm

  7. Heard Trader Joe's will move into this building...


    26 Mar 12 at 11:32 am

  8. The State confirms that.

    Seems to me that parking will be a problem for a grocery operation though..

    Also, I've been surprised over the last several years that they let that glass on the second floor stay unreplaced. I figured they would at least put up some plywood. I wonder how much weather damage there is in there?


    27 Mar 12 at 1:21 am

  9. I wonder how the area can support 4 grocery stores within a quarter-mile radius. A side of me (contemplating this indication that Piggly Wiggly is a dying grocery chain) hopes that should the Pig fold up, Harris Teeter could reopen there as it's my understanding that that was the only one of the 4 profitable Harris Teeter locations in Columbia last time around. A girl I know that interviewed for Harris Teeter in Charlotte told me they had plans in the works to build down here but I haven't heard anything about it yet.


    27 Mar 12 at 11:03 am

  10. @Andrew - Are you counting the Kroger at Beltline & Forest or the future Trader Joe's?

    I agree that it seems oversaturated. I think the 2 stores that will be hurt the most by the arrival of Whole Foods & Trader Joe's will be Fresh Market & Earthfare. Both of these are the most expensive places to shop and Trader Joe's is much cheaper. Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) is not cheap but their variety will probably draw in a lot of people that would normally go to Earthfare.


    27 Mar 12 at 12:16 pm

  11. I can't imagine what the conditions are like inside that building. The picture that Ted has posted above of the window that was removed for equipment removal has never been closed up. Considering how much rain and snow Columbia has received in the past 2 years, it can't be a pretty sight. It is good that they were going to have to gut it anyway to convert it to a grocery store.


    27 Mar 12 at 12:21 pm

  12. I wonder if Fresh Market had a feeling this would happen? They did do their major renovation and expansion at a propitious time..


    27 Mar 12 at 4:00 pm

  13. In response to Matt: I am thinking the new Trader Joe's. The Kroger at 3403 Forest Drive is a good 1.1 mi away. It makes no sense to me how Kroger is hanging on due to the antiquated nature it looks

    Piggly Wiggly (Forest Park, 4711 Forest Drive) as well as Trenholm Plaza's Fresh Market and Publix are actually within a half mile radius but it still baffles me that within a 1.7 mi. stretch of Forest Drive, you'll have 5 grocery stores.

    here is a fixed link to my thinking that Piggly Wiggly is a dying grocery chain.


    27 Mar 12 at 5:08 pm

  14. Fresh Market had apparently been planning an upgrade for some time. The Columbia FM now more closely resembles their new store down at Pawleys Island so I believe that it was a company-wide update.


    27 Mar 12 at 5:21 pm

  15. All these "fresh markets" and "Earth fares" and other "health food, natural food" places are fine..but THEY ARE TOO EXPENSIVE. Especially in today's market and with the economy as bad as it really is, who can afford these high end grocerie prices? It's bad enough as it is, but Publix and the health food places are TOO rich for me...unless I win the State Lottery or someone would like to donate about 500,000.00 to my personal bank account.

    Saturday's child

    27 Mar 12 at 5:24 pm

  16. I forgot to mention that a special CNBC ran several months ago called Supermarkets, Inc. that Whole Foods tries to operate at a profit margin of app. 3% which is significantly more than most other supermarkets operate at.


    27 Mar 12 at 9:18 pm

  17. tonkatoy

    1 Jun 12 at 10:10 am

  18. When I heard Trader Joe's was coming I took the opportunity to visit the one in Nashville, TN.

    It was grocery Heaven! They have the best, most unusual stuff and great prices on what they have, but they don't have everything. What they do well is stock a smaller inventory of unique items that fly off the shelf. Great, courteous service, too!

    The cashier in Nashville said that Trader Joe's is owned by one of the Albrecht family members, the German family that owns Aldi, so they should be well managed.

    I can't wait!


    13 Jul 12 at 2:53 pm

  19. foliks, after several years of people wanting it,

    months of construction,

    weeks and weeks of wondering,

    just as the earthly journey of Hugo Rafael Chávez Fríaz has reached its end

    I can now confirm that the grand opening date for Trader Joe's #753 at 4502 Forest Drive has now officially been scheduled for:

    {{ drumroll }}

    March 22, 2013

    Meaning it opens on Reese Witherspoon's bday and the earliest possible Easter date (which we won't see on Easter until 2285)


    5 Mar 13 at 11:04 pm

  20. I just added a boatload of photosets here at the bottom. I'll be breaking out individual pictures to add to the post body as I get time. Too bad for the pool..


    6 Mar 13 at 12:37 am

  21. Thanks for the pictures of the fate of CAC. I joined in early 1980s. It was a second home for me and many others. CAC was a gym, social club, pick-up joint, and endless party all in one. And that's how it was meant to be from the start. Some of us called it the Carnal Athletic Club. Coley, the owner, organized group trips to Cancun, 5K runs, club parties, and the like. There were casual athletes and hardcore beasts, and everyone got along. The club's vibe was always upbeat. The fitness classes were fun & challenging. I remember several of us petitioning Coley to buy a versa-climber for the second floor. He suggested that we buy the climber, & he would let us keep it there rent-free.

    When the pool opened, it was too small for laps, but great for parties. It's certain that some children were conceived in it.

    CAC was a reflection of the go-go decade known as the 80s. Great times!


    19 Apr 20 at 6:50 pm

  22. @keith -- Almost enough to make me want to join a gym!


    19 Apr 20 at 10:12 pm

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