Its replacement, new from the ground up and now housing Fit Mission Beach at 3115 Ocean Front Walk, will have a grand re-opening in early June.
“The building is all complete,” said Aldo Avila-Loaiza, account manager with Fit Athletic Club, which has three existing San Diego locations and a fourth coming to Little Italy. “What’s left is installation of all the equipment.”
Avila-Loaiza said the pool will be on the ground level, with state-of-the-art functional fitness equipment and free weights above on the second floor and roof deck.
“It’s going to be a full fitness club,” said Avila Loaiza, who had a table in front of the restored pool’s building front advertising club membership. He said plans are for Fit to begin giving tours of the brand-new facility starting in May with pre-enrolled members given priority.
“This is going to be private membership, though there are going to be drop-in days where we’re welcoming everyone,” said Avila-Loaiza. “For a small fee, people can use the pool, or just drop in for a day, or a couple of days.”
The Fit rep said the new club will have only month-to-month memberships and no long-term contracts. He added the core market for the new Fit club are the beaches and environs within a 20-mile radius.
The 2017 groundbreaking event for the Plunge’s restoration included a plaque unveiling dedicated to Mission Beach educator Maruta Gardner, who was tragically killed in 2016 by an intoxicated driver while painting out graffiti near the Mission Beach jetty.
Belmont Park and its iconic Plunge pool’s history date back to the 1920s and wealthy sugar magnate John D. Spreckels, who was pioneering San Diego’s early development. To stimulate real estate sales and promote his electric railway, Spreckels built the Mission Beach Amusement Center, now Belmont Park in 1925.
Originally known as The Natatorium, the Plunge swimming pool was constructed as a centerpiece of the park. The 60-foot by 175-foot pool was, at the time, the largest salt-water pool in the world holding 400,000 gallons of water. It was modeled after the Spanish Renaissance-style buildings erected in Balboa Park between 1915-16.
In 1940, the salt water of the Plunge began to damage its filtration system and fresh water was brought in. The Plunge then became “the largest indoor heated pool in Southern California,” at 12,000 square feet.
After acquiring the lease to Belmont Park in 2012, Pacifica Enterprises and the City of San Diego negotiated a new lease in 2015 and entered into a partnership.
Boasting a predominantly glass façade, the new Plunge has integrated exterior light with interior coastal textures. The new building features a glass retractable-roof system promoting natural air circulation and preventing some of the deterioration issues that previously plagued the old building from moisture and saltwater.
“We are confident the revitalized swimming pool, coupled with the new athletic center as the re-imagined and reconstructed Fit Plunge, will serve as a source of great pride for the Mission Beach community for generations to come,” noted Dario De Luca, president/COO of Pacifica Enterprises, at the 2017 groundbreaking for the Plunge’s restoration.