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The Possible Coming of Richfield LA Fitness: Too Much Competition? Or No Big Deal?

With the possible plans to build an LA Fitness so close to two other Richfield fitness facilities, Richfield Patch attempts to find out if its addition would drive business or pose too much competition.

For nearly two years, the at the corner of 65th Street and Lyndale Avenue, and residents have been wondering what will take its place. Many were excited to find out that Wellington Management Inc. was in the process of purchasing the property and that its development plans included a brand new LA Fitness facility, among other possible tenants.

LA Fitness is a national chain of fitness facilities that boasts rows of workout equipment, a variety of group fitness classes, pools, saunas, a juice bar and many more amenties to its members.

However, with and Snap Fitness just a few yards away, it begs the question of whether the coming of another gym would add too much competition among existing fitness facilities, or whether it would provide another place to work out and a boost for surrounding retailers.

According to Richfield Chamber of Commerce Board Member Pat Brekken, there is a market for another gym in the area. He said the facility would increase traffic in the area and encourage the city to think broader, more regionally, in terms of commercial spaces. In addition, Brekken said the gym would serve more than just those in the immediate area.

"Plenty of people from South Minneapolis, [in addition to people from Richfield], will come to this LA Fitness," Brekken said.

Stephen Wellington, Jr., president or Wellington Management Inc., added that the principle reason Richfield is interesting to LA Fitness is because there's more demand from consumers in that area. He and Brekken also said, with the increase in traffic would enhance business for the surrounding retailers as well.

As far as competition goes, Richfield Community Development Director said he was unsure if the addition of LA Fitness would majorly affect the other facilities. He mentioned that all the facilities appeal to all different types of consumers and as far as the city was concerned, the possibility of too much competition isn’t a reason to stonewall development.

“When somebody comes in for zoning and something like that, we can't tell them ‘No’ because of our concerns about competition,” Stark said. “So I really don’t have a good answer on the [competition] piece.”

While Brekken, Wellington and Stark didn’t want to speculate about whether or not the new gym may be too much competition for the other businesses, Richfield’s Snap Fitness Owner Kevin Oliver told Patch he was definitely expecting some competition.

"[While Snap Fitness] is more of a neighborhood gym … to think it won't affect us is crazy, of course it will affect us,” Oliver said. “[It’s another fitness center] and it would be right around the corner from us.”

Unfortunately, LA Fitness and Bally’s Total Fitness declined to comment after repeated inquiries from Richfield Patch. Stark said the city had yet to talk to Bally’s Total Fitness about this issue, too.

Talks continue on potential development for the site and Wellington said other retailers have approached him about occupying space including a local hardware store and a restaurant.

Richfield Patch wants to know what residents think about this issue. Please weigh-in in the comments section below. The Richfield City Council is scheduled to have a special work session Tuesday night regarding the redevelopment project. Richfield Patch will be there to get the latest scoop.

Pat Larson June 28, 2011 at 01:16 AM
I'm a member of Bally's and would jump at the chance to join LA Fitness. Bally's is cutting classes, it's equipment is old and degraded and we run out of equipment to use in a class. I think if LA Fitness comes to Richfield, Bally's would close shortly thereafter. No competition there!
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) June 28, 2011 at 05:54 AM
Thanks for your insight Pat. I thought someone might say Bally's would go, "Bye-Bye." That was my first gut reaction at least. Anyone else have any input?
Suzy Shea Vonnae June 28, 2011 at 01:26 PM
I agree with you Caitlin. This could be competition for Ballys. Interesting Concept. Suzy Shea Vonnae
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) June 28, 2011 at 03:23 PM
Yeah, I think Snap Fitness will be OK. I think a different type of customer is attracted to a facility like that. Someone who doesn't care about classes, pools, juices bars. A person that just needs a place to hit the treadmill - even at 2 a.m. Thanks for commenting Suzy.
Kelly Casey July 13, 2011 at 12:40 AM
We left Bally's for the same reason that Pat gives, plus no pool. I was working in Apple Valley so I joined LA Fitness out there. I have a trainer I see once a week. When I am not training, I hit the Edina site, but I could ride my bike to a Richfield location! I think the people who go to Snap Fitness and other 24/7 like clubs aren't big into the "sports facilities", and I hope they hang on to their own special clintele. We live at 61st and Nicollet, and are really tired of the "unfinished" look of this area of town, especially on Lyndale from KMart to Peter's Billiards. Can't wait to see the neighborhood refurbished (including the Bridgeman's site). "Technically" we are residents of Mpls., but we feel like we are a part of Richfield. Bring LA Fitness to our town!
Elsbeth July 16, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Im wondering if the new apartment complex Woodlake Plaza will have a poo or fitness rooml? Does anyone know for sure? If not, I think the LA fitness would fit in well for residents who have little access in their buildings for fitness.
Elsbeth July 16, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Oops! Im mean "pool" in the above question. Catlin has any design plans been submitted for this complex yet? If it is apartments with no exercise or swimming area, then would'nt an LA Fitness be a great thing to have near by?
Annie S. January 26, 2012 at 03:58 AM
LA Fitness already owns the Hub Bally's. Snap and Anytime (10 blocks north on Lyndale) might be effected to a degree but they still have their own gimick. They are open 24/7 - LA Fitness has more variety but closes in the evening and doesn't reopen til 5am. Now, if this location of LA Fitness were open 24/7, Snap and Anytime would be dead in the water - but that's because overall, LA Fitness is a superior product. This is not nearly as stupid as building a CVS right next door to a Walgreens over on York Ave on the Edina/Richfield border.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Yeah, as I said before, I also think that Snap won't see too much of a decline. It definitely caters to a different clientele - and the membership dues are much lower. As for Bally's, at the time of this article LA Fitness hadn't yet purchased it, however, I am assuming they were in the works since Bally's and LA Fitness declined to comment. Yeah, the CVS so close to others is quite peculiar.
Elsbeth January 26, 2012 at 06:06 PM
However keep in mind there are other locations in the Twin Cities I know of 2 locations) were there is a CVS build across the street from a Wallgreens, so I guess it will be ok
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Very true. No. 1 example is on York Avenue in Edina, however, I think that is why so many people were puzzled when they decided to go in at 66th and Penn. Now that is two of each in a couple mile radius. Only time will tell! Thanks for reading.

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