Clematis Street Fitness

Just like the 200-300 blocks of Clematis Street are becoming known for their restaurants, the 400-500 blocks of Clematis Street are now becoming known for their fitness businesses. Centennial Square on the 100 block of Clematis Street has always been a popular meeting spot for various running groups who meet by the fountain and then run along the Intracoastal waterway, over the bridges to Palm Beach and the Atlantic ocean, or elsewhere. But now the 400-500 blocks of Clematis Street are clearly becoming the epicenter in West Palm Beach for all those who want to stay in great shape through exercise and a great diet.

For many years now, these blocks have been home to the largest downtown health club, Ultima Fitness (on the 400 block). Ultima has a massive number of exercise machines, classes of all kinds, and extensive hours. The other great thing about this block is that, right next to Ultima Fitness is Dempsey's Cafe, which has a distinct focus on health foods. Dempsey's sells a large quantity of workout drinks and shakes, and also has a large selection of healthy alternatives, like vegetable wraps and wheatgrass juice made in front of your eyes. The coolest thing here for patrons of Ultima Fitness, is that Dempsey's Cafe (which has a separate street entrance on Dixie Highway) also has a backdoor which opens into a smaller space within Ultima Fitness, so you have access to their full menu from within the Ultima Fitness club. So if you need a little extra energy during your workout, you have a complete selection of healthy food and drinks to choose from. The 400 block also has the new library (which has significant open space and frequent dance classes) and the Center City Pharmacy (for any medications you might need to overcome health problems and stay fit).

But most importantly, this fitness epicenter has now expanded on to the 500 block of Clematis Street, with the opening of Velocity Cycling Studio. They have morning, lunch, and evening spinning classes which you can pay for by the class (no need for some complex membership). I understand from one of the owners, Chris Fix, that the weekend classes (Saturday and Sunday morning) have recently been sold out, which was a real surprise to me since the block formerly lacked activity on weekends during the day at least. But now Velocity Cycling Studio is there to bring new energy to the block in the mornings, and people are realizing that they have great classes and that they are very easy to get to, even for non-downtown residents, since they are conveniently located right next to the new city parking garage just off Quadrille.

And, there is more to come! The City is looking to rent the snazzy new first-floor retail spaces within the new city parking garage next to Velocity and there are numerous businesses interested in moving in there. But apparently (although nothing is finalized yet) the likely potential businesses for those spaces include, (1) a raw health food store; and (2) a bicycle shop! If the raw health food store has fresh produce, that would be awesome. And the bicycle shop (selling and renting bicycles) would be ideal for this area. There are currently two bike shops in Palm Beach and none in West Palm, so you need to go across the bridges to even think about renting a bike. Downtown West Palm Beach is just a perfect place for bike-riding, since it has the beautiful paths along the intracoastal waterway, and also a lot of quiet side streets parallel to Clematis with very little automobile traffic (not to mention all the places to lock bicycles put in by the DDA). There are already a lot of cyclists biking around the area, and with a bike shop there, those without bikes would surely rent them and buy them now given the great conditions for cycling in the area. The only thing hindering this in the past has been the absence of a bike shop. This will also create more daytime weekend activity on the 500 block. No word yet on exact timing, but the process is actively going on right now so we should hear more soon and hopefully permitting and approvals will go very smoothly in this brand new building so that we can see a bike shop and a raw food store there within months.

Not to mention, if you're lucky enough to live in the 610 Clematis condominium on the next block, you have your own nice exercise room and a full-size outdoor swimming pool in which to cool off after all your working out and cycling.

Clematis Street can now reach its full entertainment potential. You can gorge yourself at one of the many restaurants on the 200-300 blocks, and then go to the 400-500 blocks to exercise it off. Or you can go first to the 400-500 blocks for your workout, and then settle into a well-deserved and delicious large restaurant meal afterward on almost any block of Clematis Street.

The pictures below show you what all these great fitness venues look like, first Ultima Fitness, then Dempsey's Cafe, then two of Velocity and one of the (hopefully) future home of the bike shop and raw food store.

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