High-End Fitness Chain Opens Massive Club in Palm Beach Gardens

Miami-area location to open next year


In a dramatic example of an alternative tenant taking large chunks of retail space, Life Time debuted its new 136,000-square-foot club Thursday at the Downtown Palm Beach Gardens shopping center.

Life Time Group Holdings, headquartered in Chanhassen, Minn., also plans a shiny new club in a 140,000-square-foot space at The Falls in southern Miami-Dade County. That fitness center, scheduled to open next year, will fill space vacated by Bloomingdale’s.

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The new club in Palm Beach Gardens, at 11825 Lake Victoria Gardens Avenue, on vacant land at the development, began construction in 2019. The location includes a rooftop pool deck, indoor pickleball courts, a spa, a cafe, whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms.

All those amenities don’t come cheap: Memberships start at $249 a month, plus a $200 fee to join, according to Life Time’s website. The pricing puts Life Time at the opposite end of the cost spectrum compared to Planet Fitness, which markets $10 monthly memberships.

“The customer that is coming to Life Time is not the customer that goes to low-cost gyms,” founder and CEO Bahram Akradi told analysts in a conference call this week.

Downtown Palm Beach Gardens is owned and managed by Shopcore Properties. The shopping center, which has struggled with tenant turnover, is anchored by Whole Foods and sports-bar chain Yard House. REI, the outdoor equipment retailer, opened at the center this year in a former Urban Outfitters.

As of the end of 2021, Life Time operated 151 fitness centers in the U.S. and Canada totaling 15.1 million square feet, the company said in its annual report. The company plans to open a dozen locations a year in 2022 and 2023.

Life Time’s new clubs are larger than the chain’s earlier locations. The company’s club at 1499 Yamato Road in Boca Raton, for instance, is 73,000 square feet, according to property records.

While Life Time owns the Boca Raton real estate, the company is in the process of an “asset light” strategy that involves selling its real estate and leasing space from the new owners, Akradi said during the call.

Jeff Ostrowski can be reached at jostrowski@commercialobserver.com.