Can fitness centers save malls?
Southdale Center in Edina, MN, the nation’s first indoor regional shopping mall, is bringing in a three-story Life Time fitness complex as one of its anchors to reposition as a “healthy living, healthy aging, healthy entertainment destination.”
The 120,000 square-foot athletic “resort” will occupy redeveloped space where a current J.C. Penney store is located with an expected opening in early 2019. Rooftop pools and a beach club will be among its amenities.
The shopping center, opened in 1956, is currently anchored by Macy’s, Herberger’s and Penney.
“This project with Life Time is part of a larger vision for Southdale Center — to create a connected community epicenter,” said Michael McCarty, EVP of development operations at Simon. “With new nearby apartments, the recently opened Hennepin County Service Center, a hotel coming soon, and this athletic resort on the way, Southdale is realizing that vision.”
Life Time chairman, CEO and founder, Bahram Akradi, said it has created detailed plans that transform retail shopping centers into “healthy lifestyle villages,” where people shop, live, work, entertain, socialize and exercise, visit their doctor and relax at the spa.
Said Mr. Akradi, “Our focus is to develop all-inclusive destinations that encompass the full spectrum of daily life for thousands of individuals, couples and families of all ages.”
With Macy’s, Penney and Sears all closing stores, malls are or will be soon looking for new anchors. But with department stores losing their appeal overall, shopping centers are seeking fresh ways to revive foot traffic amid the rapid growth in online selling.
A study earlier this year from JLL Retail, the shopping center owner, found that restaurants, supermarkets such as Whole Foods and Wegmans, and entertainment options such as movie theaters and Dave and Busters are being used as traffic drivers if not outright anchors at shopping centers.
- Life Time and Simon to Enhance Consumer Experience at Southdale Center with Planned Athletic Resort – Simon/Life Time/PRNewswire
- Are malls better off without department stores? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think a fitness center could be a viable alternative to a department store as a mall anchor? Can many malls benefit by positioning themselves around healthy lifestyles?