The Anytime Fitness list of future clubs shows that the former American Apparel at 108 Osborne and the former Blue Bomber seasonal store at 915 Empress will be seeing new gyms in the 5000 square foot range very soon.
I have written in the past how important the fitness industry has been in changing how retail and malls appeal to consumers. Goodlife Fitness, Snap, Anytime Fitness, Orange and yoga studios are filling empty spaces and bringing people to various destinations.
Goodlife is well under way on construction at Grant Park mall and the mall will near fully leased soon.
In the last day, the largest Snap Fitness in North America located across the street from MTS Centre opened up their garage doors to the delight of passersby. That open style is certainly unfamiliar on Portage Avenue.
Osborne Village has been bemoaning the changes happening on their street. American Apparel had some concerned although the store’s demise was international and had nothing to do with the location in general. Still, it was a large spot and it seemed like it might be a hard place to fill given the rent in the area. Some suggested it would only go if divided.
The Village’s problem is too few landlords who established themselves very early on in the game and who want what the market will bear. That has been a lot in recent years. It is why some retailers have run to Corydon, Sherbrook and elsewhere to establish themselves.
There are certainly some gyms in condos in and around the Osborne Village. Snap is down the street and seems to be doing well. An Anytime Fitness in the middle of the population of the area should be a welcome addition. Given the growing density of the area, there should be enough room for two mid-size gyms.
Hope that Goodlife might come to the area is a stretch is not unfounded but it costs quite a bit of time and money to find the right location for the size gyms they require. It doesn’t always require parking as noted by their Portage location but it really has to be right spot.
The vitality of Osborne should continue. Sustainable neighbourhoods can’t only be swishy stores and restaurants.
The other Anytime is locating in the Walmart parking lot very near Polo Park. A series of stores have come and gone to the retail strip there so a change of pace is probably welcome. A few hotels are close by, lots of people shop and work in the area. A mid-size gym should work.
In this wired up world of online everything, the fitness industry is showing people still not want to go out. More retail areas are starting to catch on.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations