The deal gives TSI 12 clubs in the Boston area. BOSTON - After remaining relatively quiet in the acquisition area for months, New York-based Town Sports Inter-national (TSI) has broken its silence (so the speak) with the purchase of the Health Development Corp. (HDC).

HDC brings TSI nine owned clubs and three managed facilities. The acquired locations have become Boston Sports Clubs. They join six existing Boston Sports Clubs. Furthermore, three other Boston Sports Clubs are un-der development.

Prior to the HDC acquisition, TSI had concentrated on growth through new construction. "We had strategically focused on greenfields because we felt there were a lot of strong markets we should put model clubs into," said Mark Smith, TSI's CEO.

Still, the HDC acquisition was a perfect fit for TSI, according to Smith. While TSI's existing Boston Sports Clubs are in the city, HDC's clubs are in the surrounding Boston suburbs. So by adding HDC's large, multipurpose facilities, TSI can now serve Boston members near work and near their homes.

Not only is the acquisition good for TSI, it's good for HDC. Smith pointed out that HDC had reached a critical point where it needed to make a decision about whether its ownership could finance future growth. By becoming part of TSI, growth is more likely. "It made sense to join forces with TSI," Smith said. "Joining with us gives them the best opportunity."

The acquisition also gives TSI stronger management in the Boston area. "Everybody is staying in place and assuming responsibility for the Boston region," Smith said of HDC's management team.

And with this team in place, Smith expects great things for TSI in the Boston market. "I think that we are very fortunate to inherit a talented group of people," Smith offered. "I see growth in Boston as being very rapid."

With the addition of the HDC clubs, TSI now operates 100 clubs along the East Coast, stretching from Washing-ton, D.C., to Boston.

Drawing will be held at Club Industry 2000. CHICAGO - On Saturday, Oct. 28, at Club Industry 2000, Aphelion will hold a drawing to give away a Star Trac TR4500 treadmill.

Rumors and late-breaking news making buzz at press time. In late August, E-Zone and Netpulse - two of the industry's largest providers of entertainment systems - were expected to finalize a merger that would bring the two companies together. How will these competitors work as a team? More on this story as it develops in a future edition of Club Industry...

Word has it that New York City's Equinox clubs could be the next major chain to be acquired, with a list of potential buyers lining up. One insider claimed that the Virgin empire has even shown an interest in the company. In fact, there's strong speculation that Equinox's next owner could come from outside the fitness industry. As soon as a buyer is named, we'll let you know.