NORTH HILLS – Bodies in Motion Inc. has closed its unprofitable Irvine location and company founder Bruce Gordon said Wednesday that it could hasten the fitness chain’s exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The North Hills-based company made the reorganization filing on June 20 in the Woodland Hills branch of federal bankruptcy court. The filing lists both debts and assets at between $10 million and $50 million. The approximately 35,000-square-foot Irvine facility, one of five Bodies in Motion fitness centers, opened in January in the Irvine Spectrum and closed Friday, Gordon said. Gordon’s filing blamed the Irvine store for the company’s financial woes. “That’s the sole problem,” he said. “The other four locations are profitable. I do not think this is a Chapter 7 (liquidation) situation by any means.” That forced club members to make a “significant” walk to reach the facility, and business suffered. “Having a convenient parking facility is critical to being successful,” Gordon explained. “Foot traffic in the first phase was significantly diminished and a result of the construction on the parking structure. If the foot traffic was diminished, so was our sales potential,” Gordon said. Jennifer Hieger, an Irvine Co. spokeswoman, said she could not comment in detail on the situation because of the filing. “We certainly wish all of our retailers to succeed. In certain situations, for any number of reasons, it just doesn’t work out.” She also pointed out that the center recently added a new Nordstrom store, 35 other shops and two new parking structures. And she noted that same-store sales at the center are up 20 percent from a year ago. And Gordon’s explanation of the club’s problems puzzled a former member named Andrew, who did not want to reveal his last name. He joined in September for the martial arts program, recently signed up his girlfriend and books some private classes in advance. He figures that the closure could end up costing him about $900. And he wasn’t inconvenienced by the parking situation. “If you are going to the gym is walking 100 yards … a difficult thing?” he mused. He learned of the closing through an e-mail from one of his instructors. “I loved it. It was really a nice place and people were friendly,” he said. Gordon said about 85 percent of the club members paid their dues on a monthly basis and would likely lose, at the most, $60. Club members who want a refund must contact the court because of the filing. Ron Bender, Gordon’s attorney, believes that the company will exit bankruptcy financially sound. “I’ve very convinced that Bodies in Motion is going to emerge from Chapter 11 in very short order.” [email protected] (818) 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Gordon founded the company 16 years ago and said that this is the first time one of the fitness centers was closed on short notice because of financial concerns. He focused on offering one-of-a-kind group exercise classes such as kickboxing, yoga, dance and cycling. Each features multiple group exercise rooms, including one for boxing and kickboxing, and an array of equipment. Some even have full-size boxing rings. “I’ve closed locations because there were too many fish in a fish bowl and we needed a bigger fish bowl,” Gordon said. There were as many as 40 full-time employees at the Irvine location plus a cadre of part-time trainers. The club had between 1,400 and 1,500 members. By comparison, the similar-sized West Los Angeles location has about 6,000 members. Gordon, during a telephone interview, blamed the problems at the Irvine location on the Irvine Co. Shortly after Bodies in Motion began work on the facility in the first phase of the Spectrum, the Irving Co. commenced construction of a parking structure and fenced off a portion of the parking lot, he said.