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Fitness Center To Fill In Last Big Gap at Graceland
Monday, March 31, 2008
Article from The Columbus Dispatch
Columbus, Ohio — CASTO said last week that it has signed Global Fitness Holdings of Lexington, Ky., to build an Urban Active fitness center on the site of what used to be Burlington Coat Factory, which has been empty since 2004. Global Fitness plans to raze most of the old structure and construct a 48,000-square-foot gym to open in the first quarter of 2009. The generic white Burlington building has been a blight on the otherwise successful reprisal of the '50s-era shopping center. CASTO began to revitalize Graceland in late 2004 with the opening of Kroger Marketplace. Since then, several new tenants, including Target, Office Max and Buffalo Wild Wings, have followed. But the former Burlington building, which anchors the western end of the center, has sat empty, awaiting the right user. Global Fitness believes it's the one, and it will add the Graceland location to the state-of-the-art fitness centers it has built in or near Hilliard, Powell and New Albany. It has another planned at Polaris. "Graceland is a great area for us," said Sean Phillips, a Global Fitness vice president. "It definitely meets our demographic requirements. It's absolutely where we want to be." Global Fitness entered central Ohio last year with the intention of building several Gold's Gym fitness centers. Since then, it has broken off from Gold's and is building its own brand with Urban Active. CASTO officials did not comment on the project. The gym will compete with Victory Fitness, which has a smaller, women's-only operation at Graceland. Phillips said he thinks Urban Active will appeal to a larger market because it offers more amenities, such as a pool, indoor track and exercise room that plays full-length movies throughout the day. Phillips said Global Fitness will lease 5,000 square feet at Graceland as an "active preview center," which will be used as a sales center and temporary gym. That would leave a vacant Taco Bell building as the only remaining available space left at Graceland. Columbus retail analyst Chris Boring said a fitness center makes sense for the location. "They were waiting for the Morse-Bethel connector, and (Graceland) kind of sat there," Boring said. "Clintonville has always had outstanding demographics for retailers: high household income, a lot of professionals and a lot of families. "I think it's a good use. It's not impulse retail."

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