Thursday, January 20, 2022

[EXCLUSIVE] Upscale Fitness Operator Bringing New Co-Working Concept to Atlanta

Life Time, Inc., the Chanhassen, Minnesota-based operator of upscale athletic clubs, plans to bring their co-working concept "Life Time Work" to metro Atlanta this year.  The business, launched in 2018 to complement the fitness facility's primary attraction, claims to be "the first and only coworking concept that combines exceptional spaces with a world-class health club experience."  Life Time Work locations are typically located in, adjacent to, or near new or existing Life Time facilities.  

Interior of a typical Life Time Work 

In a 2018 release announcing the opening of the second ever Work adjacent to Life Time Athletic St. Louis Park in the Twin Cities, the company indicated that they would be opening "dozens more in the next few years."  Today there are eight Life Time Work locations in five states with five more, including two in Georgia, planned for new markets. 

In Georgia, Life Time plans to open its new Work concept in Sandy Springs and in Buckhead.  

Life Time Work in Sandy Springs will open at The Prado in a 28,800 square foot space vacant since late 2018 when original anchor Publix shuttered its store.  The new Work offering will supplement the existing three-story, 117,000 square foot Life Time facility that has co-anchored the center since 2012.  [Pre construction the Life Time site in The Prado was originally planned to be a Home Depot.] Efforts to open up the former grocery box with the addition of several new windows is already underway.  While the backfilling of the former Publix box is great to see, former locations of Marlow's Tavern, Starbucks (with drive thru), and 5 Seasons Brewing all remain empty.  According to a Life Time employee, the Sandy Springs Work, which is not mentioned on the Life Time Work website, is to open this coming October.  

In Buckhead, Life Time Work will be incorporated into the upcoming Life Time at One Phipps Plaza where SIMON is redeveloping the former Belk into a new mixed-use project.  Life Time will co-anchor the development alongside Citizens Culinary Market, a new food hall, NOBU Hotel and restaurant, and Pinstripes, featuring bowling, bocce, and a bistro and bar, among other tenants.  According to the Life Time website, the Work component is slated to open in "2022" followed by Life Time in "late 2022."  

The existing Sandy Springs Life Time as well as the upcoming Buckhead outpost are both "Diamond," the highest level clubs the company offers.  Monthly Work memberships, which based on existing locations, start at about $450 per month, and go up to nearly $1,000 per month, depending on the level of privacy, include membership to the athletic club.  

Progress underway to turn the former Publix into Life Time Work in Sandy Springs

Life Time, which went public this past October [NYSE: LTH], currently has a market capitalization of about $3.2 billion.  Also in October, WeWork, an industry leader in co-working, went public via a SPAC (Special-Purpose Acquisition Company) and today has a market cap of just under $7 billion.  In 2019, before WeWork's original ill-fated IPO attempt, the company was valued at $47 billion. [ Inspired by actual events, "WeCrashed" is a new series coming in March to Apple TV+ that chronicles the rise and fall of WeWork.] 

Pushing further into a new category is definitely risky but could also be rewarding for Life Time as it leverages its existing customer base to give them an advantage over traditional co-working players.  With the added pressure of now being a publicly traded company, more Work locations are likely as the company strives to unlock additional revenue opportunities.  

WeWork, Spaces, Roam and Industrious, all offering their own versions of co-working options, each have existing locations in Sandy Springs and Buckhead, with more than two dozen outposts between them around metro Atlanta.  That said, only some of them have a fitness component and obviously none of them come close to the breadth of offerings at Life Time.  

In addition to the Sandy Springs and upcoming Buckhead locations, Life Time operates five other locations in metro Atlanta: Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Sugarloaf, Peachtree Corners & Woodstock.

Are you a current Life Time member?  Do you think Life Time will find success in bringing their co-working concept to metro Atlanta?  Which co-working operator do you think does it best?

Please share your thoughts below. 

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