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Orange County Business Journal

Life Time Goes Prime Time: 90K SF in Irvine
Real Estate: Gym adds to Lakeshore campus reinvention
By: Katie Murar

As several fitness chains continue to consolidate across the country in the wake of COVID-19, Life Time Inc. is bucking the trends by bulking up on its expansion plans in Orange County.

The Chanhassen, Minn.-based operator of high-end fitness centers recently inked a 90,000-square-foot lease to take over the former 24 Hour Fitness site at the Lakeshore office complex in Irvine.

The high-profile location just off Von Karman Avenue fronts the San Diego (405) Freeway, a few blocks from John Wayne Airport. It’s among the larger gym spaces in the county; roughly triple the size of a typical LA Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness facility.

The deal is the second-largest reported retail lease in OC this year. It also marks the first reported large local lease transaction for a gym, since the onset of the pandemic last year.

“Life Time has a much more personalized and targeted business model than some of the other large fitness chains, and they have a while different way of operating that has enabled them to weather the storm,” said Scott Riddles, a senior vice president with CBRE that represented Life Time in the deal along with colleagues Trace Rouda and Rob Crumly.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Robert Lambert, Rick Kaplan and Greg Brown represented the landord, San Diego-based Sentre, which has spent millions upgrading and repositioning the campus – previously known as Lakeshore Towers-in recent years.

The upgrades will “ensure that working professionals who spend time here have the conveniences of work-life productivity and practicality in an enhanced setting,” said John Brand, Sentre’s director of Lakeshore Operations.

The message seems to be resonating: the campus has added several notable non-office tenants as of late.

One notable Newport Beach restaurant operator recently signed a deal to relocate two of its eateries to the 900,000-square foot office complex, which counts a trio of offices running some 750,000 square feet, alongside a mix of restaurants and the gym.

“Part of why we were excited about tis new location is because of the Life Time brand,” said JT Reed, who co-owns Bosscat Kitchen & Libations and Ten Asian Bistro, both scheduled to open at Lakeshore in early 2022.

Gym Givebacks
24 Hour Fitness was one of several fitness operators to fall victim to the pandemic, shuttering more than 100 locations nationwide including seven spots in Orange County.

The company’s closure of its Ultra-Sport Lakeshore Towers location at 18007 Von Karman Ave. marked the largest of its local givebacks.

Life Time is taking advantage of those givebacks, having recently opened seven new locations in 2021, with several more on the horizon.

The new Irvine gym is the company’s third in Orange County, and comes a little more than a year after it opened its newest location in San Clemente. That club spans about 45,000 square feet.

Life Time is planning to kick off tenant improvements later this year that will “completely reimagine” the former 24 Hour space, and said it plans to invest several million dollars in a full-scale renovation that’s slated to wrap in the second half of next year.

“You won’t recognize the facility when we are done with the renovation,” said Parham Javaheri, Life Time’s chief property development officer and executive vice president.

The move follows a campuswide renovation project for Lakeshore, with architect Gensler redesigning common areas at the campus, including a 1-acre outdoor park. Lakeshore’s towers are home to a mix of tenants, including one building largely occupied by WeWork, as well as the local operations of First Foundation Bank and Cushman & Wakefield’s Irvine operations.

Javaheri said Life Time was attracted to the property’s location, accessibility and proximity to a broad office and residential base.

“Being able to establish a full-amenity resort in the heart and epicenter of Irvine is a special opportunity,” Javaheri said.

“Life Time is a tremendous addition and the type of premier service offering that is constantly envisioned at Lakeshore for our tenant roster and the community,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Lambert.

Bosscat, Ten Asian
Lakeshore’s tenant roster will include two popular restaurants, Bosscat and Ten Asian Bistro, which are relocating to the office complex from the Saunders Plaza in Newport Beach, a spot about a mile away that’s being eyed for a new mixed-use development that could add 444 homes and 300,000 square feet of commercial space.

“Once word got out that we were in the market for a new location, the Lakeshore team reached out to us and said they were open to us bringing both of our restaurant concepts to the complex, which has a new, beautiful retail component,” said Reed, who owns the concepts along with Leslie Nguyen. “The icing on the cake was when they secured Life Time.”

Construction recently kicked off for the two concepts: Bosscat Kitchen, a restaurant that specializes in classic Southern dishes and an array of whiskeys, and Ten Asian Bistro, as Asian fusion and sushi restaurant.

The Newport Beach locations will remain through 2023.

Further Plans
Expect more locations to follow for Life Time, which entered the OC market in 2014 with the opening of a 128,000-square-foot site in Laguna Niguel.

“Irvine is a dense and underserved market that we want to expand our presence in,” Javaheri said. “We continue to search for multiple development opportunities in and around the region.”

Address: 18101 Von Karman Ave.
Size: 900,000 square feet
Ownership: Sentre
Broker: Cushman & Wakefield
Occupancy: approximately 80%
Notable: bringing in new tenants including Life Time Inc., Bosscat and Ten Asian Bistro