Commercial landlords have been hard pressed to lease their spaces to businesses. Retail vacancies in the top 80 U.S. markets are high, upwards of 11 percent for neighborhood shopping centers and 9.3 percent for regional malls.
Today, retail landlords are scouring for nonretail tenants like medical professionals, academic centers, insurance agents, spas, and last but certainly not least, health clubs. In fact, the fitness industry accounts for 8.8 percent of new leases signed so far this year by retail chains throughout the United States, compared with 7.9 percent last year, according to real estate research company CoStar Inc.
Gold’s has 500 gyms throughout the U.S. and intends to open 17 more this year and 30 in the next. This Dallas-based company has a 15,000-square foot express-gym model that can fit into most large retail spaces. As health clubs have moved into shopping centers, they’ve increased their overall square footage by a whopping 57 percent. If you build the gyms, the patrons should come, which might mean better business for other local shops.