The Real Deal New York

Brookfield signs Retro gym to One New York Plaza

Little-known franchise is first tenant in revamped 40k square feet Downtown retail concourse

May 30, 2014 06:16PM
By Rich Bockmann

From left: One New York Plaza and a Retro Fitness gym

From left: One New York Plaza and a Retro Fitness gym

Brookfield Office Properties is giving a Manhattan toehold to the little-known gym enterprise Retro Fitness, signing the company to 17,000 square feet on the newly renovated retail concourse level at One New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

The New Jersey-based fitness franchise, which has about 50 brightly decorated red-and-yellow gyms across the Hudson, is the first of a handful of tenants Brookfield plans to reveal in the coming weeks that are signed to the 40,000-square-foot concourse, which was gut-renovated after being flooded by Superstorm Sandy.

The economy-priced gym offers memberships starting at $20 a month and has a handful of locations in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

Ed Hogan, Brookfield’s national director of retail leasing, said he was excited to give Retro its first opening in Manhattan.

“It’s a growing segment of fitness-club industry. It is really more of an efficient gym with a compelling price point,” he said. “We think it’s a fitness center that really, at its price point, doesn’t have any competition in the waters, something that’s missing from the neighborhood.”

A Retro spokeswoman said the company in talks with franchisees about expanding in Manhattan, but declined to comment further.

Brookfield made a point of landing a fitness center when it was repositioning its Brookfield Place campus as a 24-hour neighborhood, inking Equinox last year to a space at 255 Liberty Street.

Following the $250-million renovation, the complex drew large tenants such as the law firm Jones Day and Time Inc., which last week said it is leaving its long-time Midtown headquarters on 6th Avenue for 700,000 square feet in Lower Manhattan.

A fitness center can be one component of a landlord’s strategy to offer a full range of live-work-play retail options, said Marc Frankel of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

Frankel helped sign a Blink Fitness gym last year to a 28,000-square-foot space on the second floor of 31 Penn Plaza — an example, he said, of how gyms are frequently willing to take space other tenants would spurn.

“Often times they take underutilized space that’s used as storage in the basement or second-floor office space, which is often the most undesirable in the building,” he said. “It’s something that doesn’t have a negative effect, such as a not-very-attractive food use like a Subway or a Dunkin’ Donuts.”

One New York Plaza, Brookfield’s 50-story, 2.5 million square foot building at Manhattan’s southernmost tip has a contiguous block of 176,121 square feet available on the 45th through 48th floors, according to recent reports.

In March, the company signed Revlon to 92,000 square feet on the building’s top two floors, luring the cosmetic giant from its Park Avenue headquarters near Grand Central Terminal.

In January, the architectural design firm Davis Brody Bond inked a deal for 26,000 square feet on the 42nd floor and the National Futures Association, a self-regulatory organization for the derivatives industry, took 36,000 square feet on the 43rd floor.

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