With 52% of people saying they exercise more intensely during weekdays, office landlords have the chance to better utilise and monetise buildings’ underused or vacant spaces. Already, the conversion of lower ground floors in offices has created a steady stream of new gym opportunities.
Similarly, the cooling of the retail sector is likely to provide more opportunities for in-town and out-of-town facilities. The convenience of being able to shop and workout in a single location continues to appeal: the number of gyms situated in High Street locations has increased by more than 15% since 2017.
Fitness is also used as footfall generator by retailers in the sector. The free classes offered by Sweaty Betty and the virtual studio classes promoted by Peloton continue to prove very successful. Meanwhile, Virgin Active - which divested its neighbourhood estate to Nuffield in order to concentrate on central London and other metropolitan locations - is converting traditional gym floor space into immersive group exercise studios.
The UK gym market will undergo further consolidation and an increased number of mergers and acquisitions as the sector matures; while demand will see London experience progressive rental growth. Against this backdrop, all London landlords should be exploring if any of their assets are fit for purpose as a gym or fitness class space.