Stephen Carrozza
REAL ESTATE

5Qs for Stephen Carrozza on fitness tenants

BY Al Urbanski

Stephen Carrozza has been working for just five years at Metro Commercial, the Philadelphia-based brokerage with deep Northeastern roots, but a productive five years it’s been. He’s helped place Urban Air in centers in 17 states and has spread the coverage of health and fitness concepts like Orangetheory and PM Pediatrics far and wide. We asked him what’s up with fitness in necessity-based centers.

In three or four words, what do other tenants get out of having fitness locations in their centers?
The halo effect of quality customers. Fitness businesses bring in people who are going to be at the higher levels of education and income, people who are going to be spending some money at the center.

Are other retailers in centers doing anything to connect with fitness enthusiasts?
There’s an easy connection for health-oriented fast casual food concepts and farm to table restaurants. Grocers in centers will appeal to the fitness-minded consumer with sections promoting locally sourced product. Convenience stores at centers in Miami sell kombucha slushies. Dry cleaners, like Zips, that offer eco-friendly dry cleaning also have an edge.

Retailers complain gyms lock up too many parking spaces. Is that being dealt with?
I hear it all the time. It depends on the size of a center. Even if you have only a 3,000 sq. ft. store like Orange theory, you need 30 to 40 spaces. Larger gyms avoid the problem by leasing second-generation boxes, like Sports Authorities that usually had their own parking fields. The bigger challenge is trying to work through archaic leases in which 3,000 sq. ft. gyms weren’t thought of. Bottom line is, my fitness clients don’t want to move into a center where parking is going to be a problem.

What are today’s hot gym concepts?
Up and coming is Edge Fitness. It’s a 30,000 to 40,000 sq. ft. club where the base membership rate is $9.99 a month. It’s in the Planet Fitness realm but offers special amenities like Edge Cinemas and smoothie bars. A lot of spin concepts are turning up. Soul Cycle is expanding into selective markets. Barre concepts really hot, too. One interesting new concept is Brrrn. There’s just one, for now, in New York. It’s the ice box concept, working out in very cold temperatures, which is in some way supposed to enhance the workout.

Don’t specialty centers like barre or rowing have a shorter life span than standard gyms?
It depends. If you are a barre concept and you have 1,500 sq. ft. on the second floor in the right neighborhood, your occupancy cost is not going to be that high and you can survive a long time. In Philly we have Unite Fitness, a personal training center. It’s small — 3,000 sq. ft. — not national brand, but has its local following. If you have a rowing concept in Conshohocken near Boathouse Row, you’re alright. If there are four boxing concepts within 10 blocks, someone’s going to close.

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