Pacific Heights Health Club ends 35 years of existence

A retractable roof in the weight room was one of the club’s distinctions.

The PACIFIC HEIGHTS HEALTH CLUB, with its lofty name and low-key vibe — where designer workout clothes aren’t necessary — will close its doors for the last time Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, at 3 p.m. sharp.

Amy Lang, who took over the club 15 years ago and named herself director of motivation, announced the move in a letter to members on November 1.

“San Francisco has changed. Retail has changed. The fitness industry has changed,” Lang said in an interview.

The club’s personal training program will continue in the fitness center at the neighboring apartments at 2000 Post Street, between Steiner and Pierce.

Lang intends to focus, primarily in online sessions, on coaching women ages 45 to 55 interested in weight loss, especially those in tech, who share her professional roots.

A longtime neighborhood institution, the urban gym at 2356 Pine, just west of Fillmore, has seen several incarnations. It opened in 1984 — when the city had just six health clubs — as a men’s-only club that offered massages, a hot tub, and was staffed with locker room attendants. It was frequented by a number of famous patrons, including, for a time, John F. Kennedy Jr.

David Kirk opened the front end of the club to women when he took over in 1990. A dozen years later, he opened the entire club to everyone.

Fleeing a professional life in finance and technology, Amy Lang became an owner in 2004, adding a cheeky marketing savvy as well as yoga, Zumba and Pilates classes. She later discontinued classes and focused on small group training for seniors, a change that did not sit well with some regulars.

“It created a bit of a mess,” Lang acknowledges, but also revealed a deeper truth. “That’s when I realized the club was a better place for a DIY person,” Lang says. “I didn’t know you didn’t turn a health club into what you wanted it to be. But what I’ve learned now allows me to do what I’ve always wanted to do.

Filed Under: Body & Soul, Retail Report


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