Another longtime Gold's Gym franchisee has left the brand.

Bill Lia, who had operated four Gold's Gyms in the Albany, NY, area for 21 years, has converted the four clubs to Vent Fitness, which rolled out its new brand Jan. 1.

Lia joins a long list of Gold's Gym franchisees who have left Gold's in recent years to form high-volume, low-cost brands, including Fitness Connection, Max Fitness and Xperience Fitness. Also, the former Bay Area Gold's Gyms converted to Fitness SF.

So why did Lia leave Gold's?

"'Why' is a question a lot of people have asked," Lia told Club Industry. "It really wasn't any one thing. I guess after over 20 years, much like a child moving away from his family, it was just time to venture out on my own. There are a lot of great people still involved with the Gold's Gym brand that I'll miss."

The four Vent Fitness clubs are in Guilderland, Latham, Clifton Park and Schenectady, NY. Existing Gold's Gym members at the four clubs will retain membership benefits under the new brand, according to a company press release. Vent Fitness offers three levels of membership starting at $9.99 a month.

"We wish Bill Lia and his team the best and thank them for their contributions to the Gold's Gym brand," Tim Hicks, senior vice president of franchising for Gold's Gym, said in a statement. "We shared a successful partnership for more than 20 years but after significant conversations, both parties agreed it was time to move in a new direction. We have aggressive growth plans both in the Northeast and nationwide and look forward to working with new and existing franchise partners to drive our continued expansion."

Construction is under way on the first phase of a new 45,000-square-foot flagship Vent Fitness club in Guilderland. The second phase of the $6 million expansion project, which is expected to be completed this fall, will include a new basketball court, swimming pool, rock climbing wall and group training rooms.

Vent Fitness is looking to add as many as four new locations in the Albany area over the next two years and is targeting regional spots in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, where The Lia Group has numerous real estate holdings in addition to operating 17 auto dealerships.

"We are excited to embark on this next chapter for our members, our staff and the community," Lia said in a statement. "Our vision is to reinvent the fitness experience in a way that engages, inspires and improves lives."