Life Time Fitness Buys Rochester Hills Club


Acquired facility to become part of the chain's largest location to date.

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. — With the acquisition of the Rochester Hills Tennis and Swim Club, Life Time Fitness (Eden Prairie, Minn.) continues to expand in the Michigan market. The club is Life Time Fitness's fourth facility in that state, and one of 26 that the club chain now owns and operates overall.

As its name implies, the Rochester Hills facility concentrates on aquatics and tennis. The location boasts four outdoor pools, two indoor pools and 32,000 square feet of tennis courts. In fact, Rochester Hills is the first Life Time Fitness facility with tennis, a sport that could see more exposure within the chain. (Market research shows an interest in tennis among Life Time Fitness's members, according to Tony Harris, director of marketing and communications.)

Not that Rochester Hills will only offer swimming pools and tennis courts. By adding its typical array of services and amenities — such as top-of-the-line cardio/fitness equipment, a spa/salon, comprehensive pro shop and deli, climbing walls, sports courts and state-of-the-art childcare — Life Time Fitness will make the Rochester Hills facility similar to the chain's other branded clubs, Harris told Club Industry.

To allow room for these services, Life Time Fitness purchased the 17 acres adjacent to the Rochester Hills facility. Counting the pool/tennis complex, Life Time Fitness has a total of 23 acres for construction and renovation.

In addition to investing in new services, and building areas to house them, Life Time Fitness is revamping the existing Rochester Hills facility. The location's pools will be brought up to Life Time Fitness's standards, Harris said, receiving family-fitness features such as zero-level entrances, so members can bring their youngsters into safe levels of water.

Once the expansion is finished in 2002 (the exact month is unknown), the Rochester Hills location will be 200,000 square feet in size. This makes the facility Life Time Fitness's largest location to date — and the most expensive. Life Time Fitness typically spends $15 to $18 million on facilities, Harris reported, but the Rochester Hills location will cost the company between $20 and $22 million.

Besides investing in the facility, Life Time Fitness has invested in the location's workers, who are currently taking part in Life Time Fitness University, the ongoing training/educational program that all employees receive. Life Time Fitness has also invested in the Rochester Hills community (a larger facility means more jobs), as well as the location's current members (who will have more activity options within the club).

During renovations and construction, Life Time Fitness doesn't want to disturb Rochester Hills' existing membership base, which the chain is already planning to grow. Presales for the expanded club have started in Rochester Hills, an area that Harris described as a growing community with a nice mix of demographics.

This broad mix is important to Life Time Fitness, a chain operating 24/7 facilities that try to offer a little something for everybody. After all, a 24-hour club with a wide range of amenities needs to capture as much of the market as possible, Harris said, and Rochester Hills is home to a big, diverse market.

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