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The Cybex factory in Owatonna Minnesota Rendering courtesy Life Fitness
<p>The Cybex factory in Owatonna, Minnesota. (Rendering courtesy Life Fitness.)</p>

Life Fitness to Expand Minnesota Cybex Factory in $22.85 Million Project

Life Fitness, Rosemont, Illinois, broke&nbsp;ground on an expansion project at its&nbsp;Cybex&nbsp;factory in Owatonna, Minnesota, on Tuesday.

Life Fitness, Rosemont, Illinois, broke ground on an expansion project at its Cybex factory in Owatonna, Minnesota, on Tuesday.

The 150,000-square-foot project will expand the facility's footprint to 490,000 square feet. The expansion will be coupled with an investment in automation and technology to more than double the facility's overall manufacturing capacity to support continued growth in the fitness industry, according to a media release from Life Fitness announcing the expansion.

The total project cost is $22.85 million, which includes building and equipment costs, Lauren Platt, public relations manager, Life Fitness, told Club Industry. The project is expected to be completed by December, according to an Owatonna People's Press report.

“The expansion to the Cybex facility in Owatonna is the latest project in our endeavor to increase global product and capacity for all Life Fitness brands,” Chris Clawson, president, Life Fitness, said in a statement. “The Owatonna facility is well positioned to support the expansion, and we’re excited to bring more space and advanced technology to enhance both our facility and the employee experience.”

The Cybex Owatonna factory produces more than 200 varieties of commercial fitness products, including strength machines and the Cybex Arc Trainer. Life Fitness also has factories in Ramsey, Minnesota; Franklin Park, Illinois; Falmouth, Kentucky; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Bristol, Wisconsin; Delavan, Wisconsin; Medway, Massachusetts and Kiskoros, Hungary.

The City of Owatonna approved a tax increment financing agreement, a Minnesota business subsidy, to help facilitate project construction. Life Fitness also has applied for the job creation fund award from the state of Minnesota, which will allow the company to earn incentives as new jobs are created. The financing structure with the state is similar to the $4 million, 50,000-square-foot expansion project at the Life Fitness factory in Ramsey, which was completed in March.

The Owatonna expansion follows Brunswick's acquisition of Cybex for $195 million in January. Brunswick, which acquired SCIFIT in 2015, is the parent company of Life Fitness.

The Cybex facility in Owatonna has been part of the southern Minnesota community of approximately 25,000 people for nearly a decade. The expansion is expected to create more than 100 jobs in categories such as welding, fabrication, powder coat painting and assembly. The project will utilize Minnesota-based contractors and architects, according to the release.

“We’re eager to get started on the facility’s expansion and are looking forward to growing with the community,” John Champa, senior director of manufacturing operations, Owatonna Cybex factory, said in a statement.

Owatonna Community Development Director Troy Klecker said the city is "very pleased" about the project, according to the People's Press report.

“When they were sold to Life Fitness, that always causes some concern as to what way they’re going to go with the facility, but we had some early discussions with them, and it was a pretty new facility, and they were in need of new capacity, so I think that put us in a very good position to expand here in Owatonna,” Klecker told the People's Press.

Design plans for the Cybex Owatonna factory expansion. (Photo by Life Fitness.)

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