Planet Fitness inks lease in Little Havana

Gym franchise is converting a former Walgreens site into a fitness facility

775 Southwest 8th Street and Arnaldo Cantero III
775 Southwest 8th Street and Arnaldo Cantero III

Planet Fitness is coming to East Little Havana.

The New Hampshire-based gym franchise inked a 14,800-square-foot lease at 775 Southwest 8th Street, which was previously home to a Walgreens site. The gym tenant plans to convert the building into a workout facility.

Arnaldo Cantero III, a principal at BGRS Commercial Real Estate Advisory, represented the landlord, Robert Wollberg, who is listed as the trustee of the Ortega Jr. Children’s Trust. Records show the trust paid $1.8 million for the site in 2001.

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Planet Fitness is currently in the permitting process, Cantero said. The gym signed a long-term lease at the site, which spans a little more than an acre. Nearby are attractions such as Azucar Ice Cream Company and the Ball & Chain nightclub.

Walgreens moved to a newly built facility just across the street. “It’s very hard to get a retail location in ‘Calle Ocho’ this big because land values are so expensive,” Cantero said. The area is hot with boutique multifamily construction, which will likely bring more residents into the neighborhood, he added.

Health clubs and gyms that were often overlooked in previous years by landlords flush with other options are emerging as favorable tenants amid the nationwide retail slump. Other rapidly growing health club chains in South Florida include Orangetheory and Club Pilates.