The long-vacant building that once housed an Ultimate Electronics store in Burnsville is on its way to becoming a Planet Fitness.

Aisling Fitness, a Pennsylvania-based group of franchise owners in the fitness center chain, recently bought the former store building and is in the midst of remodeling it, according to Dan O'Shaughnessy, Aisling's managing director. He said the new fitness facility should be open in March.

The property at 14232 Burnhaven Dr. has been available since 2011, when the consumer electronics retailer went out of business and closed all its Twin Cities-area stores. ARC Greater Twin Cities wanted to buy it and open a thrift store last year, but those plans were effectively derailed by the city — first by a moratorium on new thrift stores and later by a new ordinance regulating thrift stores larger than 5,000 square feet. The building has about 22,000 square feet.

Aisling currently operates about 30 Planet Fitness centers in the Philadelphia and Chicago areas. O'Shaughnessy said the franchise group began looking at the Twin Cities market about three years ago and opened its first local outlet in Roseville in 2012. It added a second center last year in Mankato.

"We knew we wanted to be in the Burnsville trade area. It's the kind of market we like with good [population] density and highway access," he said.

Aisling paid $1.75 million for the building, according to filings with the Minnesota Department of Revenue. That's slightly below the most recent value for tax purposes of $1.87 million, according to Dakota County property records.

O'Shaughnessy declined to specify the cost of the renovation but said it will be a multimillion-dollar project. He said the cost of the fitness equipment alone in Plant Fitness centers typically is about $1 million.

In addition to Burnsville, the group is building a new facility in Coon Rapids. O'Shaughnessy said he expects to add two to four centers a year in the Twin Cities, eventually operating 15 to 20 in this market.

The fitness center chain is based in New Hampshire and has about 300 centers nationwide. Two other Planet Fitness centers in Brooklyn Park and Bloomington currently are operated under a separate franchise arrangement by former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie.

Firm names new partner

Media Relations Inc. recently promoted Heather Champine to partner of the Burnsville public relations agency.

Champine previously served as vice president of media production. She has worked in public relations since 1997 with clients that include Great Clips, Nash Finch, AT&T and Intel.

Media Relations was established in 1988 and is a part of Kocina Marketing Companies.