Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fitness Centers: Good News for Retail

“Fitness purveyors are emerging as highly viable shopping center destination tenants, according to locally based Levin Management Corp. Despite the challenging economy, the fitness industry reports healthy performance, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. ‘With so much unpredictability and stress, people are focusing on what they can control and what makes them feel better--with health and wellness at the forefront,’ says Ken Carrier, an industry veteran and owner of No Body Denied, a moderately-priced, star-up fitness center opening in December at Levin-leased Echo Plaza in Springfield. ‘Visionary fitness center operators, both value-oriented and upscale concepts, and smaller entrepreneurial ventures as well as large chains, are opening new locations, giving a much-needed boost to retail properties hard-hit in this recession,’ says Matthew K. Harding, president and COO of Levin. ‘We are seeing significant new leasing activity within this sector.’ tuart Polevoy owns the three-location, upscale CAN DO chain, which includes a club at Princeton Forrestal Village in Princeton, where Levin serves as exclusive retail leasing agent. ‘While the fitness industry is more immune to economic downturns than many others, we still have seen a consumer pullback in the current cycle,’ he says. ‘As the economy bounces back, the fitness industry holds incredible growth potential,’ Polevoy says. ‘Approximately 85% of the American population currently does not belong to clubs. So this is a good time for owners who have the resources to take advantage of the soft market to secure locations with future growth in mind.’”

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