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The J.C. Penney store at Bloomington's Eastland Mall has closed and could be the future site of a Planet Fitness center.

MARIA NAGLE, THE PANTAGRAPH

BLOOMINGTON — A Planet Fitness may open next year in nearly one-third of the space formerly occupied by the J.C. Penney store that recently closed at Eastland Mall.

Mall owner Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CBL & Associates Properties Inc. has an Eastland Mall site plan on its website that shows Planet Fitness occupying 20,119 square feet of the former 71,000-square-foot J.C. Penney store.

The site plan noted the fitness center could open in fall 2018. 

CBL spokeswoman Stacey Keating confirmed Monday night that the mall is in the process of finalizing plans with Planet Fitness and another unspecified fashion retailer to locate in Eastland Mall.

"We plan to make a full announcement with all details surrounding Planet Fitness, as well as a fashion retailer, as soon as plans are finalized," said Keating in an email.

If the 24-hour fitness and health center opens at the mall, it would be the nationwide chain's first entry in the Bloomington market.

Founded 25 years ago in Dover, N.H., Planet Fitness now has more than 1,400 clubs throughout the United States and Canada.

It features new memberships starting at $1 down and $10 month, with no long-term commitment, according to the company's website.

In addition, Battle Orbs & More, which currently has a location in Springfield's White Oaks Mall, plans to open in Eastland Mall in November, in the space formerly occupied by MC Sports, Keating also announced.

Battle Orbs & More offers indoor soccer that contestants play in bubble suits, archery tag, laser wars and bounce houses, said Keating.

Another major retail anchor at the mall, Macy's, closed in March. CBL purchased that property for $2 million, according to property transfer records.

CBL had no news to share about its efforts to find a new tenant for the 154,000-square-foot former Macy's store that had been at the mall since 2006.

"We have strong demand from a variety of uses for the redevelopment of the Macy’s space, including some new-to-market retail, sporting goods and dining options," Keating said at that time. "We are moving forward with negotiations and are close to finalizing our plans. We’ll be excited to share more information as plans are finalized.”

Keating also said in June that  "the J.C. Penney space will also feature a variety of retail options, as well as potential fitness/lifestyle use."

In earlier statements, CBL viewed the store closings as an opportunity to "recapture underperforming space and deliver a fresh new mix that drives increased traffic and sales to the entire property. 

MC Sports was among several smaller mall retailers, including The Gap, GapKids, The Limited,  Radio Shack and Extreme Wireless, that also closed earlier this year.

Along with Sears, the mall's two other anchors, Bergner's and Kohl's, will remain. 

Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle

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Reporter

Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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