CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On Thursday, Jeff Charles opened downtown Charleston's first 24-hour gym. The gym, at 205 Capitol St., features strength and conditioning equipment, cardio machines, a smoothie bar, tanning beds, a massage area and locker rooms with showers.
For the past several months, Charles said, he's worked tirelessly to transform the building that formerly housed the Impulse nightclub into a state-of-the-art 24-hour gym.
"This place was really beat up. I was determined to make it happen," he said. "Sometimes, I walked in here and said, 'What am I doing?' It was so overwhelming at times, but I knew I could do it if I just kept pushing."
Charles invested more than $150,000 in new workout equipment for the facility. He also operates iFitt24 at Ashton Place, in South Hills. Members will have access to both gyms.
"I had to scrape pennies everywhere I could find them," Charles said. "I'm in a big hole right now. Hopefully, it works out."
Charleston City Manager David Molgaard said the building transformation and entrepreneurial spirit is the epitome of what he wants to see happen downtown.
"I think it continues the momentum we are seeing in downtown Charleston," Molgaard said.
Charles said he isn't worried about operating a 24-hour gym downtown. He sees downtown as the perfect place for a gym, tanning salon, massage salon and smoothie bar.