Mountainside Fitness set to start work on biggest Arizona fitness center

Angela Gonzales, Phoenix Business Journal

Mountainside Fitness plans to open its biggest Arizona fitness center to date.

The Scottsdale-based health club just signed a 50,320-square-foot lease to take over a former Albertson’s grocery store at Scottsdale Towne Center, built by Vestar at the southeast corner of the Pima Freeway and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.

The 300,000-square-foot retail center managed by Vestar includes a Target, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Wells Fargo and several restaurants and smaller retailers.

“The Target in this center is an amazing Target,” said Craig Cote, CEO of Mountainside Fitness. “There are busy Targets and there are super busy Targets. This one is super busy. I’m familiar with it because my wife shops at that Target.”

When Albertson’s merged with Safeway in 2014, Albertson’s closed that store but continued to pay its lease to uphold its lease obligation, he said.When the property became available in April, Cote was up against several other potential tenants, including a golf retail store and a flooring company.

“Some of the users were not as large as 50,000 square feet and they were requesting the building to be subdivided,” Cote said. “It’s a lot of pressure on a landlord to cut a building in half. When you don’t have to cut a building in half, it’s certainly preferred.”

JLL brokers Regan Amato and Ryan Tanner represented Mountainside Fitness, while brokers Ryan Desmond and Neil Board from Western Retail Advisors represented the landlord.

This is the third Vestar-Mountainside partner location in the Valley, with the other two in Queen Creek and Happy Valley.

Mountainside will spend $4M on improvements

Plans call for investing about $4 million for the tenant improvement project, which will include all new HVAC units, a new building facade, full demolition of the prior grocery store and a full rebuild of the fitness center to include locker rooms, a steam/sauna, kids club, three group fitness studios, basketball court/pickleball court, outdoor workout area, recovery room, elevated cardio platform and strength area.

Construction of the property at 15660 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. in Scottsdale is expected to take about eight months for an opening in mid-2024.

It will employ 150 people, including front desk, member services, personal training, child-care attendants, maintenance technicians and a management team.

This will be the 21st Mountainside Fitness to open in metro Phoenix, following its 20th location that will open in January in Avondale.

It also will be its biggest yet. The next closest in size is the 42,000-square-foot club at Happy Valley Towne Center in north Phoenix, which previously housed a Sports Chalet.

While the new health club is only about two miles from a smaller Mountainside facility at the Ice Den, 9375 E. Bell Road, that 15,000-square-foot Scottsdale facility will remain open, Cote said.

Long-range plans call for renovating some of the health clubs over the next two to four years, Cote said.

“The focus of those remodels will be outdoor work areas, pickleball courts and increased functional training space,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cote has his eye on additional expansions, at a time when Bed, Bath and Beyond is closing its last stores in the Valley.

“We’re looking at new properties for expansion,” Cote said. “The majority of them will be new build construction. There are very few vacant boxes in desirable locations. Very rarely do you see an empty box and say, ‘that’s a great spot for an up-and-coming business.'”
Originally published by The Phoenix Business Journal on July 31, 2023.