Businesses related to physical fitness can find leasing a commercial space in Manhattan to be a real challenge. Whether you’re running a yoga or a pilates studio, a fitness facility, a dance or ballet studio, or an indoor climbing/bouldering company, you’ll find that acquiring a suitable space involves a learning curve. This particular use type requires specific amenities that not all landlords are willing to accommodate, and finding a space that ticks all the required boxes can take a lot of time and effort. The services provided by an experienced commercial real estate broker in Manhattan can help you find the right space faster and negotiate better terms with the landlord of that property.
What do fitness-related businesses look for in a space?
Let’s go over some of the most important aspects to consider when looking for fitness-related commercial space in NYC.
Soundproofing and ease of access
Fitness and dance facilities generate significant foot traffic, with people constantly going in and out of the space. This can increase elevator wait times for other tenants if the facility is located on the upper floor. What’s more, fitness and dance activities create a lot of noise and vibration, inconveniencing other tenants in the building. Imagine weights dropping to the floor or the music and foot noise coming from a ballroom or dance studio.
To avoid issues related to noise and vibration, tenants should look for commercial spaces with heavy-duty concrete floors. They should also be willing to invest in soundproofing for the space to ensure no possibility of disturbance for nearby businesses. To avoid increased elevator wait times and crowds, fitness-related tenants will benefit from leasing space on the ground floor in a space that has a separate entrance and exit. Second-floor spaces are also a good option, as long there is no possibility of inconvenience for the tenant on the lower floor.
Plumbing Capacity for Showers & Restrooms
Physical fitness facilities require men and women locker rooms that require bathroom stalls and showers. So, gym space will need adequate plumbing capacity. Installation of this plumbing can be at the cost of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Finding a property with an existing plumbing infrastructure is highly advantageous and can reduce the cost of building out such a space.
Column-free spaces and high ceilings
Column-free spaces with high ceilings are also crucial for dance or ballet studios or indoor climbing facilities. A column-free space is necessary to ensure that the participants can move unimpeded. A high ceiling would also be a big plus, should participants perform jumps as part of their routine.
Column-free spaces and abundant natural light are equally sought-after by yoga or pilates studios. Operable windows and state-of-the-art ventilation systems represent additional amenities of importance for fitness facilities where a lot of intense activity takes place nearly every hour.
Touchless technology and outdoor space
Another bonus point is touchless technology, which allows clients to navigate the space quickly, seamlessly, and without touching any surfaces. That’s especially important post-pandemic, as all businesses try to mitigate risk and prevent contamination.
One amenity that is not necessarily a requirement but could prove highly beneficial to fitness-related facilities is outdoor space. A terrace or a small garden could be highly appealing for clients during the warmer months for a yoga or pilates studio. Moreover, many clients would prefer exercising outside to enjoy fresh air, natural light, and last but not least, to eliminate some of the health risks in relation to the post-pandemic climate. Consequently, access to an outdoor space could be a great amenity to have. As a downside, this particular amenity may drive up the rental price for your facility.
Last but not least, a physical fitness-related business will need to provide clients with easy access to transportation. Proximity to public transportation hubs, onsite parking, or access to nearby parking will be crucial to attract and retain clients. For many clients, accessibility will be non-negotiable, so you want to ensure you can provide a level of access that fits their needs.
How to find the right space for fitness-related companies in Manhattan
Now that we’ve gone over the things to consider when looking to rent commercial space for a fitness-related business in NYC, it’s time to narrow down your options.
The ideal location for a fitness facility or a dance studio would be a ground-floor space on a main street within an active Manhattan neighborhood. There are numerous retail spaces available for rent in the city, especially as the pandemic forced many retailers to shut down, downsize, or relocate. Rents for ground-floor retail spaces have dropped significantly in the past two years. However, they are still considerably higher than above-grade office or loft space. The upside is that ground-floor spaces do not have a loss factor compared to other commercial office space. If you have the budget for it, a ground-floor retail space will offer ease of access and high visibility and help you attract clients.
Because of the pandemic, many gyms and fitness facilities have closed in New York City. As a consequences, there are unprecedented opportunities for fitness-related businesses that are looking to expand. Currently, there are several vacant facilities across the city that are currently available for lease. These spaces already incorporate showers and locker rooms, thereby saving a potential tenant hundreds of thousands of dollars in build-out costs.
Building out a suitable space for a gym is a major project. Landlords will rarely be open to undertaking such a massive construction effort for a new tenant. However, if your business is interested in acquiring a physical fitness studio space, you can negotiate free rent in lieu of construction with the landlord. In the current climate, you might even be able to negotiate as much as a year on a ten-year lease term.
The best NYC neighborhood for gyms and studios
Fitness and dance studios tend to be spread across New York City. However, you can find the highest concentration of those spaces in neighborhoods with a younger, more active, and somewhat upscale demographic. These include Chelsea, Flatiron, Murray Hill, the Upper West Side, and the Upper East Side.
Columbus Circle also offers several options for fitness enthusiasts, and it’s a great neighborhood that provides easy access to public transportation. Locations include the Mercedes Club at 550 West 54th Street, New York Underground Fitness at 440 West 54th Street, Planet Fitness at 423 West 55th Street, and Essential Fitness NYC at 939 8th Avenue.
Blink Fitness has numerous locations across Manhattan, including: 5 Bryant Park, 600 3rd Avenue, 16 East 4th Street, 308 8th Avenue, 111 Nassau Street, 125 Park Avenue, and 287 Broadway. On the Upper East and West Sides, you have the Monterey Health Club, Moving Strength Pilates Studio, Body Evolution, and Equinox, among many others.
For fitness studios seeking more affordable rental rates, the Garment District and Murray Hill are attractive options. These areas feature former industrial/manufacturing buildings that offer high ceilings and open spaces, ideal for dance or yoga studios. East of Third Avenue, as well as Midtown East, are also good options for fitness facilities.
Are you thinking of setting up your business in a convenient location in Manhattan? Are you looking to lease space in a modern building offering state-of-the-art amenities? To learn about available office space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 444-2241 or email us at [email protected]