Genesis Health Clubs owner Rodney Steven II announced Wednesday that prep work would start at the new Manhattan gym site.

The fitness center will be on the hilltop of 2704 Allison Ave. near the Seth Child Road and Fort Riley Boulevard interchange. The center will replace the current Anderson Avenue location.

Steven visited the site Wednesday morning with Manhattan club manager Johnny Dykes and Jason Layman, owner of Rock Construction, the general contractor.

Layman said construction crews were scheduled to begin clearing the site Wednesday afternoon or Thursday.

When completed, the 70,000-square-foot gym will include a six-lane indoor pool, three-lane running track, three exercise studios, full basketball court, childcare, cardio, weights, three indoor tennis courts with a viewing lounge and bar, personal training, smoothie bar and locker rooms with built-in locks.

The gym will also have a spa with massages, facials, skin care, cold water bath, therapy pools, hot tubs, steam room and dry sauna.

Originally, the company wanted to open the new gym in 2016 after buying Max Fitness from local businessman Dave Dreiling in February 2015.

Since that time, the company has given a couple of reasons for delays including the city’s exploration of recreation centers and indoor aquatics, and a difficult site to complete the plat dedicating utility, drainage and conservation easements.

In February, owner Rodney Steven II said the company would start prep work that month.

On Wednesday, Steven said the project had been pushed back because of the company’s rapid growth via acquisition.

He said Genesis had 20 clubs when the company purchased Max Fitness, and now it has 46.

During that time, the 31-year-old, Wichita-based company has expanded from Kansas and Missouri locations to gyms in Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

“It was the biggest thing my company’s undertaken,” Steven said. “When you go from 1,200 employees to 3,200 employees in a year, a lot of things change. This project got pushed a little bit.”

Despite the number of clubs, Steven said this will only be the fourth facility “built from the ground up.” The company previously did this with the clubs in Hutchinson, Salina and Leavenworth.

Steven said Genesis has done construction work with other facilities, but this approach takes more development.

“When done, it will be one of the most beautiful clubs I have,” he said.

Steven said the company isn’t ready to put out a timeline for when the gym would be completed.

“I’ve done construction projects in nine months,” he said. “I’m terribly embarrassed to tell you that I just spent almost three years in St. Joseph building a club. Sometimes you run into difficult sites and weather, but we hope to be able to complete this job in a year or sooner.”

In materials previously given to city administrators, Genesis officials said the gym’s benefits will include 80 full-time equivalent jobs, which doubles the current gym’s employee level, $100,000 in sales tax revenue and $381,255.50 in property tax revenue. The city currently receives $23,788.90 in property taxes from the empty lots.

The company estimated the gym would produce a total 20-year impact of $5 million to the city.