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The Evolution Of Multifamily Wellness: The Benefits Of Incorporating Tailored Fitness Spaces

Jun 13, 2023

Fitness centers have long been considered a desirable amenity for multifamily buildings, but their significance has risen in recent times. The coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of many gyms and kept people indoors, leading multifamily residents to rely more on their buildings' facilities.

This trend continues today, and as a result, residents are now demanding more customized and high-tech spaces to meet their fitness needs.

Gym Design Group is a fitness amenity and consulting firm that specializes in creating bespoke fitness centers for multifamily communities. The company's goal is to develop a fully immersive gym experience that caters to the specific needs of tenants and aligns with the build-out of the community.

According to Steve Colwell, the founder of Gym Design Group, the company's approach is not just about creating an exceptional gym but developing an unparalleled experience for multifamily residents.

GDG Creative Director Stephan Hermann added that its objective is to design a lifestyle center that incorporates the optimal positioning, technology and aesthetic to help make multifamily communities thrive for developers, owners and residents alike.

Bisnow interviewed Colwell and Hermann about Gym Design Group, their motivation for creating custom lifestyle amenities even before the pandemic and their perspectives on the future of multifamily gyms.

Bisnow: How did Gym Design Group start?

Hermann: Our company was born out of a realization that fitness centers and gyms were not being designed optimally for multifamily communities. Many fitness manufacturers offering gym design services tend to prioritize their own brands and products over the client's specific vision and requirements.

At GDG, we prioritize wellness and design-driven fitness amenities. We understand that a well-designed gym space can enhance the appeal of multifamily units for developers and owners. By providing state-of-the-art fitness amenities on-site, tenants no longer need to seek external gym memberships, contributing to their overall wellness.

Colwell: Our team at GDG brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in gym design, including exercise physiology, nutrition and a range of perspectives on work, education and healing. We view gym design through a consultative mindset, incorporating quality lighting, layouts and designs to create a superior fitness experience for residents. Our goal is to elevate the aesthetics of the average on-site gym and promote a wellness-focused environment for multifamily communities.

Bisnow: What makes Gym Design Group unique compared to other gym designers?

Hermann: The fitness industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, driven by advancements in technology, changing consumer preferences and an increased focus on wellness. These trends have also impacted the multifamily industry, where residents are now demanding customized, high-tech fitness amenities to meet their needs.

One trend that has gained momentum is the integration of technology in fitness. With the rise of wearables, fitness apps and streaming services, residents expect fitness amenities that are equipped with the latest technology. This means offering amenities such as interactive screens, virtual classes and smart equipment that can track their progress.

Another trend is the focus on wellness. The pandemic has made people more aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and this has translated into the fitness amenities residents are seeking in their multifamily communities. Residents now want access to amenities that cater to their physical, mental and emotional health, such as yoga studios, meditation rooms, and sauna and steam rooms.

Colwell: At GDG, we take these trends into account when designing fitness amenities for multifamily communities. We collaborate with clients to understand their vision for the space and tailor the amenities to meet the needs of their specific demographics. Our focus on wellness means we incorporate amenities that promote a holistic approach to fitness, such as outdoor spaces, greenery and natural lighting.

Overall, these fitness trends have contributed to a shift in the way people view fitness and wellness. By offering customized, high-tech amenities that promote a holistic approach to fitness, multifamily communities can attract and retain residents who value their health and well-being.

Bisnow: What are some of your most successful projects?

Hermann: One of our more recent projects was the fitness center at Vive Luxe in San Diego from Sunroad Enterprises.

The Vive Luxe fitness center boasts a dedicated functional training room, which is equipped with specialized equipment that allows residents to engage in a variety of exercises and workouts. This provides a versatile and personalized fitness experience for residents, tailored to their individual needs and goals. In addition, the main fitness center has incorporated a custom dedicated turf area with custom-designed logos of the property on all free weights, showcasing the property's unique branding.

Vive offers two custom outdoor fitness areas, providing residents with a variety of fitness options. The first area features a custom 12-piece multi-unit from Italy, which allows residents to engage in a range of exercises and workouts. The equipment is carefully designed for more bodyweight training with a focus on a variety of movements and exercises that mimic real-life activities. The second outdoor fitness area is a dedicated circuit station that includes different modalities, providing a diverse and challenging workout experience. Both outdoor fitness areas have become a key selling point for the complex, helping it to attract and retain residents who are committed to living an active and healthy lifestyle.

Colwell: Another project we did is with Align Residential, who enlisted us to design its Chorus property for the Downtown San Francisco area. Amenities include dedicated coworking spaces, a skybox lounge, a speakeasy with a game room, a rooftop solarium and a rooftop pool and lounge with private cabanas.

The fitness amenities were divided into five core areas with a main fitness center, functional area, turf area, treadmill room and outdoor rooftop fitness. The main fitness room includes cardio, strength, and dedicated functional training equipment and customized turf areas. Designated areas were designed to allow for stretching and recovery, supporting a wellness experience designed to optimize and enhance any fitness routine.

The roof of the podium structure is dedicated to fitness, inclusive of both indoor and outdoor options. Expansive views of the city provide an urban backdrop while working out. This distinctive set of amenities — particularly the unique, Ninja Warrior-style outdoor fitness environment — have become a point of differentiation for the building among other recently built residential towers, illustrating the creativity that often results from challenging constraints.

Bisnow: What do you see for the future of Gym Design Group?

Hermann: As the demand for health and wellness amenities continues to rise in multifamily developments, we see GDG creating more tailored experiences for residents. This includes working with developers to hire lifestyle directors who can curate programs and events that cater to the specific needs and interests of the community.

Colwell: We believe that wellness beyond fitness will play an even larger role in the future of multifamily developments. This includes the incorporation of recovery rooms with cryotherapy, massage chairs and other wellness pods to help people unwind and take a mental break from their busy lives. Additionally, amenities like meditation rooms, saunas and healthy eating options will become more common as people seek a more holistic approach to their health and wellness.

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Gym Design Group. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

Studio B is Bisnow's in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to [email protected].

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