The vacant former Elks building.

The vacant former Elks building.

The vacant Elks Building on Main Street in Haines is set to get a new life as a fitness gym.

Klondike Chiropractic owner Chris Thorgesen says he recently purchased the property. He’s already begun renovations and plans to open the initial phase of the business on May 1st.

Thorgesen says to start, the building will house a gym with free weights, cardio equipment and other strength-training machines. It will be open to the public through paid memberships, although he hasn’t worked out how much those will cost yet. Members will be able to access the gym 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using a door code. Eventually, Thorgesen says he plans to hire staff.

He also plans to add other features, like a sauna and steam room and a juice bar in the future. Thorgesen doesn’t yet have a name for the new business, he says.

The building fell to the responsibility of the Petersburg Elks Lodge after the local chapter closed in 2012 due to waning membership. The local lodge was established in 1981 but the building dates to the 1960s.

The Elks have tried selling the building to the borough and there has been sporadic interest from other businesses and nonprofits in the last few years. Most of the fixtures and furnishings were sold when the chapter closed. The 2013 assessed value for both the property and building is just over $311,000.

Elks representatives said in the past that proceeds from the building’s sale would be placed in a trust to use in case another local lodge opens within five years.