24 Hour Fitness is no longer interested in relocating to the former Nissan dealership that has sparked controversy in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Theory R Properties bought the former Family Nissan site in 2012. Initially, it wanted to rezone the 4.75-acre property to allow a retail center, anchored by 24 Hour Fitness.
Another gym is interested, but 24 Hour Fitness is out, said Theory R Principal Joe Daichendt.
“They [24 Hour Fitness] have chosen not to build their latest prototype in RSM,” Daichendt said.
Additionally, the firm is talking with some health food grocers about the possibility of coming to Rancho Santa Margarita, he said.
As for finding another dealership – for which the majority city leaders have expressed their willingness to wait because of the additional tax dollars dealerships bring in – Daichendt said Theory R would still consider it.
“We continue to pursue dealership opportunities and conversations continue with one to two groups per month, but it is an exercise in futility as the outcomes continue to be the same with no one being able to secure a new car franchise for the location,” he said.
Now that both Planning Commission and the City Council have rejected Theory R’s attempts to rezone the property for general commercial use, the developer has filed paperwork with the city to gather signatures and try to put the matter on the November ballot.
Meanwhile, a group called Save RSM is planting signs all around town, urging residents not to sign the paperwork that would put the matter before the voters. It characterizes Daichendt as an “out of town” developer who stands to make millions, while damaging the city and its coffers with a strip mall.
The group has already attracted 201 likes to its Facebook page.