Thursday, November 14, 2019

Gyms sprouting like muscles across urban Thailand

Aug 05. 2019
Photo by Nexus Real Estate
Photo by Nexus Real Estate
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By The Nation

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At a time when urbanites are increasingly concerned about their health, fitness clubs have become the primary customers in renting commercial facilities in Bangkok, property agency Nexus Real Estate Advisor said on Monday.

Managing director Teerawit Limthingsakul said the commercial market continues to grow overall, particularly in retail space in the Central Business District spanning Siam, Ratchaprasong and Phrom Pong. 

The average occupancy rate in the first half of 2019 was 95 per cent. 

The food-and-beverage sector remains a key selling point for most shopping centres, but in the meantime the drive to stay fit is boosting growth in businesses such as sportswear, healthy foods and especially gyms. 

Fitness clubs can now be found in almost every general-use building, including condominiums, malls and office buildings.

“Gym operators have become magnets and anchors for retail spaces because they require large spaces and generate vitality for the building, so demand for space is spiralling,” said Teerawit. “Gyms also create more ‘footfall’ because their customers come in at least two or three times a week.”

He said the big names such as Fitness First and Virgin Active are likely to continue opening new branches, but both of these targets high-end customers, leaving a gap for the middle-income segment. 

New players thus have an opportunity to make a significant contribution, and the current leader there is Australia-based Jetts Fitness.

Jetts chooses convenient locations and reduces the typical size of a costlier gym –2,000-3,000 square metres – to 600-1,000sqm. By doing this, Jetts can open two or three branches in one location to serve various demands and keeps them open around the clock. 

Jetts Fitness has launched 19 branches in the past two and a half years in Bangkok, Pattaya and Korat. 

In 2018, it opened 10 outlets in prime locations, such as the FYI Centre at Rama IV and Ratchadapisek roads and SP Tower (the IBM Building) near the Ari BTS station. 

This year there are seven more branches and the first outside Bangkok. Another 15 are already in the pipeline.

“Nexus is entrusted to find the best locations for Jetts Fitness,” Teerawit said. “We’re looking for elite spaces to support its expansion, such as retail spaces on the first or second floor, easy access and BTS or MRT stations nearby. The gyms have to be able to operate 24 hours a day. Jetts Fitness aims to open more than 100 branches in Thailand by 2024.”

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