Luxury Gyms, Like Equinox and Life Time, Are Taking Over Big Retail Spaces – The New York Times

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High-end gyms, many of which used to be an amenity, are now the star attraction, offering hotel rooms and workspaces as part of their appeal. They’ve also gotten a lot bigger.

High-end gyms are no longer just places to sweat it out.
The most exclusive ones offer not only state-of-the-art equipment, exercise classes and spacious locker rooms with cold eucalyptus-scented towels and fancy soaps but also “third places,” locations outside home and work where people can mingle and socialize. That means gyms are now also recreational centers and event spaces. They’re salons and spas. They’re hotels and workspaces. And they’re child care facilities.
At Chelsea Piers in New York, the sports and entertainment complex along the Hudson River, members can get work done before, in between or after workouts at the gym’s lounge and co-working space, which opens up to a 44-foot ceiling and waterfront view. The gym also hosts events, like author talks and creative classes and workshops, for members. Nearby, the high-end gym Equinox opened a hotel in 2019 in Hudson Yards, and has plans for more hotels in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
At Life Time, a gym that calls itself a “country club” version of a health club, members can drop off their child before a workout for a fee and, at certain locations, can get a private office or a dedicated Herman Miller desk at its co-working space, called Life Time Work. A Life Time Work membership includes gym access and will cost you a couple of hundred dollars to thousands per month, depending on what kind of workspace you want and the location.
Gyms, many of which used to be an amenity attached to a hotel or an office building, have now turned the tables and become the star attraction, offering hotel rooms and workspaces as part of their appeal. These kinds of amenities require a lot of space — and this is an ideal time for projects that need large retail space: A shaky commercial real estate sector with high vacancies has opened up opportunities for big gyms, as property owners desperately need anchor tenants that can drive foot traffic to help make their residential and office properties more appealing.
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