International Plaza to add upscale Life Time Fitness
TAMPA - It’s official: An upscale Life Time Fitness gym location half the size of a Walmart Supercenter will be moving into an anchor space attached to International Plaza sometime soon, complete with a gym and full-service spa. The Tampa Tribune reported last week that a deal was in the works between the mall owners and the chain of gyms, and now both sides have signed a lease to start work in the space. Details such as dates for construction and opening day are not yet public, but both Life Time and mall officials confirmed the deal. “We are thrilled to welcome Life Time Fitness to International Plaza,” mall spokeswoman Nina Mahoney said in a statement. Life Time is a publicly traded company, founded in 1992 and headquartered in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen, with more than $1 billion in yearly revenue, 20,000-plus employees and 105 Life Time Fitness and Life Time Athletic centers.Unlike most gyms, Life Time Fitness tends to build large, resort-style health complexes, with basketball and tennis courts, restaurants, medi-spas with Botox treatments, indoor-outdoor pools and classrooms for kids’ programs. The project at International Plaza could represent a multimillion-dollar project that is slimmed down from that model to fit in the 50,000 square feet of space of the former Robb & Stucky furniture store. There is no plan to move out the Ballard Designs home goods store that takes up part of the structure on the second floor. Mall officials plan an announcement as soon as today. Life Time spokeswoman Natalie Bushaw said the company picked Tampa because the neighborhood around International Plaza had a concentration of affluent families and a fitness culture. “Most clubs are really price-centric,” she said. “You go into a room full of equipment and pay the bare minimum for what you get. For us, the offering price is not the driver. The experience is the driver.” The company isn’t ready to announce an opening date, but Bushaw said the design process is underway and officials hope to begin construction this year.