Cork Factory train tracks
The Cork Factory on the right and Downtown in the distance. Elan Mizrahi photo.

After slaying the Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira, Jennifer Lopez is doing something that’s a little surprising — opening a fitness club in Pittsburgh.

Lopez and baseball legend Alex Rodriguez are behind TruFusion, which will be opening at The Cork Factory’s garage and retail complex in the Strip District.

The famously fit founders’ booming fitness franchise offers yoga, kettlebell, Pilates, barre, boot camp, boxing and cycling classes all under one roof. It’s expected to open in early 2021.

“While J. Lo and Alex Rodriguez are investors on a national level, this is very much a locally owned franchise,” says Shannon Striner, the local franchisee. “My husband and I have partnered with another couple (Adam and Chrissy Timko) in opening this business. We strongly believe in the power of fitness. Both of our families include children with disabilities. We have partnered up together for their futures. We plan on having classes for folks with disabilities.”

The Striners live in Highland Park; the Timkos are from Shaler.

The location in the Strip has long been marked by vacancy since the former Marty’s Market grocery shut down several years ago.

GMH Capital Partners of suburban Philadelphia says that the entire 43,000-square-foot space will soon be fully-leased with the addition of TruFusion and Coop de Ville, a new concept from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group.

DeShantz is behind some of Pittsburgh’s most popular restaurants: Meat & Potatoes, Butcher and the Rye, täkō, Pork & Beans, Poulet Bleu and Fish nor Fowl.

Coop de Ville will focus on Southern cooking, and chicken in particular. It will also feature a sports bar atmosphere, with billiards tables and duckpin bowling. It’s expected to open this spring.

Photo courtesy of Coop de Ville.

“Coop de Ville and TruFusion are welcome additions to the current upscale retail offerings at The Cork Factory, an exclusive living community with exceptional features and amenities in the highly-desirable Strip District,” says Rand Ginsburg, senior vice president of asset services for GMH Capital Partners.

Other tenants include the seafood and chophouse Cioppino Restaurant & Cigar Bar, the informal Italian eatery Osteria 2350 the boutique fitness studio Meraki, and Sola Salon.

The Cork Factory — which actually was once a cork factory called the Armstrong Cork Company — was the first major housing redevelopment in the Strip District, an area now booming with living options. It’s located at 2350 Railroad Street, and faces the Allegheny River.

It was built in 1901 and designed by renowned architect Frederick J. Osterling — designer of the 1892 remodeling of Henry Clay Frick’s house, Clayton, and the Union Trust Building in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.