Newest downtown tenant: Life Time fitness center and coworking space

March 26, 2019

High-end fitness chain Life Time will open next year in downtown’s GreenStreet, filling a large vacancy in the mixed-use complex and providing another sign that downtown is coming into its own as a residential neighborhood.

The new facility, which the company describes as an “athletic lifestyle resort,” will occupy the two-story space once filled by Books-A-Million, which shuttered its downtown store in 2012. In addition to the health club, Minneapolis-based Life Time will also bring its coworking concept to GreenStreet.

Life Time’s coworking space, known as Life Time Work, will occupy 38,000 square feet in the high-rise. The fitness space will fill 56,000 square feet, primarily in the two-story building at the southeast corner Main and Polk. In total, the company will occupy 94,000 square feet in the downtown development when it opens in 2020. The company declined to provide financial details or lease terms.

“It’s huge for our central business district to have something like that endorsing it,” said Bradley Freels, chairman of Midway, which owns the property with Lionstone Investments. “And I think it’s great for GreenStreet. Our vision is to make it a lifestyle, and this is a big part of it.”

The owners of GreenStreet, which spans four blocks along Dallas from Main to Caroline streets, have been on a quest to rebrand the downtown complex and turn it into a destination, similar to what Midway did with CityCentre in west Houston.

In recent years, the companies have upgraded the aesthetics, adding stone pavers, wood accents and greenery, They’ve added new restaurants and pop-up retailers and built a 223-room luxury hotel called Alessandra.

Other GreenStreet tenants include House of Blues, technology accelerator MassChallenge and a collection of restaurants and retailers.

While most of the retail space is spoken for, the property’s largest office tenant, NRG Energy, recently moved out of the office tower as it consolidated employees into One Shell Plaza.

Midway is using the transition time to renovating the office building with a new lobby and other improvements that will allow it to better suit multiple tenants.

“We view it as an amenity to the project, but they also are a paying tenant,” Freels said. “And they’re making a huge investment in their own right.”

Life Time has been growing its Houston presence for the past several years. It opened its first club in 2004 and now has nine, two of which opened last year. One under construction in Greenway Plaza is scheduled to open later this year and another is planned in Shenandoah.

Parham Javaheri, Life Time executive vice president of real estate and development, said the company wanted a downtown presence to serve the growing residential community as well as the office population. Downtown has a residential population of about 9,700 and a workforce of 157,000.

“The development happening throughout downtown Houston over the past few years is exciting to see,” Javaheri said in an email. “The City, Central Houston and the Downtown District have focused on continued growth in the area and we saw a great opportunity to be a part of it.”