Fitness Centers in Shopping Centers: A Perfect Storm

The mall and the gym can be a powerful combination, according to Craig Mimms, interim regional manager of Planet Fitness in Hyattsville. This is demonstrated by the upcoming opening of Life Time's massive gym in the Quail Springs shopping center in Oklahoma City, which is replacing a Macy's. In Chicago, Brookfield is constructing a three-story Life Time with a rooftop pool on the site of a former Sears Auto Center. The fitness industry has been one of the few to maintain its growth since the recession, according to Burns. Many fitness companies are located in B malls, not the most luxurious or expensive properties.

24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness were among the top 20 “tenants” to have leased the most square feet under new lease agreements, according to Myers. Joe Coradino, executive director of PREIT, which owns 22 million square feet of retail space in malls in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, is actively recruiting fitness companies to fill its malls. Monday Isa works out at Planet Fitness in the Mall at Prince Georges in Hyattsville, Maryland. Brookfield is looking to add gyms and grocery stores to its shopping mall offerings, as they can attract customers multiple times a week. Some gyms and fitness centers are now seeking high-quality spaces that are densely populated both from a population and commercial real estate perspective.

The current environment offers an ideal opportunity for the fitness center sector, as consumers prioritize health and the economy continues to improve.