By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
Once again, there is some mystery surrounding a property in San Carlos Village, which sits just off state Route 125 on Navajo Road in San Carlos.
What is known is that, come Jan. 26, the large L.A. Fitness gym and workout center will turn out the lights and lock the doors.
What we don’t know is why it’s closing, and L.A. Fitness doesn’t seem willing to say anything about it. The company has a media relations department that didn’t respond to repeated phone calls. The local people at the gym say they can’t say anything at all, and don’t have any contact at the Irvine home office that can or will comment.
A longtime member, Mickey Zeichek, says she thinks it may have to do with unresolved damages done to the indoor pool area of the building after a major storm a few years ago — damages that she thinks were never repaired, even after lawsuits and court orders.
So far, the San Carlos Village property managers aren’t returning phone calls, either.
Since it’s really one of two anchor tenants of the center, speculation is rife about what, if anything, will replace the gym.
Once again, no one seems able or willing to say with any certainty what’s being considered, but people are willing to guess, and there appears to be a lead candidate, or so center patrons think.
Two guys walking into the gym the other day said they’d all heard the rumors that the area will be taken over by the German-owned ALDI grocery chain, which is slowly expanding its footprint in Southern California.
“Yeah, that’s what all the talk seems to be about,” said one of the young men, who’d only say his name is Rob. “We hear it’s gonna be an ALDI store.”
Getting someone from ALDI to confirm or deny that rumor is almost impossible.
After a week of effort, and thanks to the good offices of a Los Angeles-based public relations firm, we finally got a comment from Skip James, who’s listed as the Moreno Valley Director of Real Estate for ALDI.
“We are exploring the potential of opening an additional store in San Diego County, but do not have further information to release currently about that specific location. We are excited about the prospect of additional ALDI locations to San Diego County in addition to our current locations in Vista, Chula Vista and Escondido.”
That may or may not mean that ALDI is coming — you can read it several ways.
If ALDI does wind up there, it won’t be the first grocery store in that shopping center.
A British-owned grocery, Fresh and Easy, was in business at the San Carlos Village for a while, but it shut down with all the Fresh and Easy stores a year or so ago when the company pulled out of the US market.
Years ago, when I was living in the Fletcher Hills areas, we did much of our grocery shopping in a large, well-stocked Ralphs Market that occupied that very space.
I never did find out why that store went away.
But then, finding out anything about San Carlos Village has never been easy.
We spent weeks trying to figure out what might replace the Fresh and Easy store that went out of business there.
(Nothing has — it’s still vacant.)
We found out about the Orchard Supply Hardware home improvement store now there when it opened its doors — another well-kept secret.
We’ll keep after the story.
— Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.