Cardio, Cappuccinos, and Convenience Creating a Fitness Center in Your Building

Imagine this: It's a rainy gray Monday morning. You're snug in bed, dreaming away, when the alarm rings. Six thirty. You have just enough time to hit the gym before work, but the very idea of suiting up and traipsing out into the cold world to go work out makes you want to pull the covers over your head, hit the snooze bar five or six times, and just grab a big, buttery croissant on your way to the office.

But what if you could roll out of bed, slip on your favorite pair of sweats, stroll down the hall to the elevator, hit the "down" button, and be in your own private gym in under a minute? Not only would you save transit time, but how much better would your workout be if you knew that your shower, your paper, and a fresh pot of coffee were waiting for you when you finished, just an elevator ride away?

In our stressed society, short on time and big on convenience, the addition of in-house gyms for co-op and condo dwellers has almost become a necessity. Not only does a modern, well-maintained health and workout facility increase residents' enjoyment of their home, it increases property value for everyone. That's saying nothing about the increased energy, improved community relations, and overall better health that come from a regular regimen of physical exercise.

No Sweat

Adding a fitness center - or a "lifestyle center" that may include some more spa-like components - to your building is a win-win project, if the initial planning is done sensibly and in consultation with an expert. Clearly, installing a gym or fitness center is a bit more involved than replacing worn-out lobby rugs or switching to peonies in the planters out front. Here are some questions your board must ask before putting anything in motion:

How do we begin the process of adding a fitness/lifestyle center?

First of all, your board must determine exactly how much space is available. Approximately 500 square feet is the minimum amount of space you need for a fitness center to be feasible. That's just enough room for a few pieces of cardiovascular equipment and a "multi-gym" with pulleys and weight stacks. Recent building renovation projects include One Beekman Place, which replaced an existing fitness center with a more upscale version, and The Horizon on First Avenue, which just completed a major renovation to their building and fitness center component, according to Wiezycki.

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