As the mass media reminds us almost daily, staying fit (or even just getting fit in the first place) is on many people's minds. The risks of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle are being taken more seriously, and that seriousness is being felt throughout the real estate market as developers and building administrators attempt to capitalize on homebuyers' interest in keeping in shape.
Planning a gym or fitness center in a new building is one thing; installing or seriously upgrading a gym in an existing building is another. There are both risks and rewards, and many factors which need to be taken into consideration before the first drops of sweat start to fall.
Before diving into a gym build-out or remodeling project, managers and boards need to be prepared.
First, “The condo or co-op needs to make sure they have a viable space,” says Bruce Gehrig, territory manager with Midwest Service Inc., a national fitness equipment sales and installation company. Secondly, they need to have at least a few clear ideas about what type of facility they're looking to create. “A lot of times, they don’t know exactly what they want to do,” he says, adding that aside from space issues, infrastructure issues like wiring and plumbing need to be taken into consideration, since most cardio equipment requires electricity.
Dusty Schlotfeldt of Fitness Experts in Chicago suggests having a dealer or manufacturer of fitness equipment come in and assess your available space. He adds that other issues, such as adequate ventilation and flooring need to be taken into consideration as well. If flooring already exists, the board has to decide whether to leave it in or put a completely new floor down. If the gym is on the ground floor or in a basement space, the existing floor may be fine—if it's on an upper floor, reinforcement may be necessary, and soundproofing will definitely be a concern.