Colts Neck New Jersey based Retro Fitness is making inroads in the Atlanta market. The first Atlanta location will open soon at 2400 Cobb Parkway in a 14,200 s/f space near Best Buy and Lee's Golden Buddha. This week, I received confirmation that a previously rumored Buckhead gym will open in the former artefacto furniture store that was located in the lobby level of Two Buckhead Plaza at 3050 Peachtree Road, opposite Seasons 52, until it closed last summer. The bi-level artefacto store is just over 20,000 s/f, of which 15,387 s/f was leased to Retro Fitness and the remaining space was leased to Storage Management. Ben Carter Properties, which is based upstairs, represented the landlord in the signing.
LA Fitness, The Forum Athletic Club, and the Buckhead Club, are all nearby. Financially strained New York-based Crunch Fitness exited the Atlanta market last year, closing their Parkway Pointe location last spring and their Tower Place location in Buckhead last fall. New York-based Equinox was once on tap for Ben Carter's "The Streets of Buckhead," but has since pulled out. The entire development is now in limbo as Carter is struggling to get an additional $200 million in financing to resume construction on the mega development. Just this week, I witnessed cranes and workers on site. Unfortunately they were trucking equipment and supplies away, rather than progressing towards completion.
According to Retro Fitness corporate, plans call for between 15 - 20 locations in Atlanta within the next two months. The Cobb Parkway location is franchised but the Buckhead and a planned Sandy Springs location will be corporately owned. Retro Fitness started in 2002 and began franchising in 2006. Eric Casaburi , Retro Fitness's founder claims their monthly membership fee of $19.99 is "guaranteed never to increase." Aside from the "Retro" price, the gyms also feature the "Retro Theatre," where classic 80s films such as "Back to the Future" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" play. Will this be enough to make this new gym a success? Time will tell, but one thing is certain: they are gonna have to sell a lot of memberships to cover the cost of such a high rent location. ToNeTo Atlanta
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