Life Time opens a coworking site in a former YMCA space in downtown Mpls.


After a year of delay, the office-sharing arm of fitness chain Life Time is opening its third Minnesota location in the old YMCA building in downtown Minneapolis on Friday.

Life Time Work’s latest location, following on from 2019 sites in Edina and St. Louis Park, will provide members with 53,000 square feet of office space on the top three floors of 30 Ninth St. S. near avenue Hennepin.

The downtown coworking space is Life Time’s eighth nationwide.

Real estate experts say Life Time Work is growing during a tough time in the office rental industry. General office vacancy rates in downtown Minneapolis were over 24% in June, according to real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield.

Coworking spaces were on the rise before the pandemic, doubling over the past 10 years to 1.2 million square feet in Minneapolis and St. Paul by the end of 2020. But interest has waned during the pandemic.

“Like the entire office market, the demand for flexible office space has been put to the test in the short term,” commercial services company CBRE said in its 2020 Industry Assessment Report.

CBRE officials see the long-term outlook more positive – tenants will eventually return to the workplace. At present, the question “when” persists.

Life Time Work originally planned to open in downtown Minneapolis along with five other locations across the country last year, but the spread of the coronavirus has forced many businesses to temporarily close their offices.

The company saw this as a temporary setback. Within a year or two, it plans to open six new locations in Chicago, Arlington, Virginia, Beaverton, Oregon, Shenandoah, Texas, and two in Georgia, officials said.

Life Time entered a quiet period last week after parent company Life Time Group Holdings Inc. registered for an initial public offering of shares with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Because of this, officials would not say how many members have joined its Minneapolis co-working offices or discuss projections or capital costs.

“We’re excited to be a part of the revival of downtown Minneapolis,” said Brooks Hagen, senior director of Life Time Work, during a tour of the newly renovated space last week.

The real estate developer, Ned Abdul with Swervo Development Corp. purchased the seven-story, 140,000-square-foot building in 2018 for around $ 5 million and began major renovations.

Abdul demolished the brick facades on the north and south sides of the building and replaced them with glass to create a spacious and airy feel.

The company expects to attract professionals and small business owners who need flexible yet upscale office space, with options including 103 glass-enclosed private offices, access to common lounges with stylish tables. library, benches and padded cabins and nooks.

Members can rent monthly and choose from three membership options, starting at $ 435 per month. Plans include access to all 150 Life Time sports clubs and other coworking spaces.

South Minneapolis resident Josh Peterson rented one of Life Time Work’s dedicated offices because he needed a quiet place to work away from his three children, who are home-schooled. After visiting the Life Time facility this summer, he became a member.

Peterson had previously rented co-working spaces inside We Work in North Loop and Fueled Collective in Minneapolis in downtown East.

“But this one being related to Life Time Fitness was a huge bonus,” said Peterson, as a media tour group went through the Life Time facility. “Aesthetically the vibe here is great and I love the downtown location.”

The recent increase in the delta variant has thrown more uncertainty in the market and delayed return-to-work plans for employees at Target, Wells Fargo, US Bank, and hundreds of other companies.

Only 30 to 35 percent of office workers have returned to downtown regularly, Minneapolis Downtown Council officials estimate.

Recent national surveys by CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle and McKinsey show that many American office workers are so used to working from home that they don’t want to return to the office full time.

Life Time’s Hagen believes the new trend in hybrid remote work should benefit Life Time Work, as many “professionals still want to get out of the house” but don’t necessarily want to go to their desks five days a week.

Some businesses and corporations that terminated office leases or downsized during the pandemic are also expected to become Life Time Work customers, Hagen said, noting that they can rent Life Time Work conference rooms for important meetings.

Wharton School management and human resources professor Peter Cappelli said flexible office space had faced “a lot of internal issues” during the pandemic and faced “a lot of competition” over the years. future.

But he thinks the industry may eventually grow. It is more likely to appeal to the “permanent remote” worker, that is, someone who does not have the ability to divide their time between home and office.

Ultimately, flexible office space is “likely a plus as there will be more people than before who need or want a place to work other than their home.” But the question is: where? said Cappelli.

Shared office hunters will debate whether to work in the city or in the suburbs, he said: “There is a little disagreement on which is best.”

Life Time Work is betting on both.

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