ULI Washington News

Fitness is the New Happy Hour Event Recap

On September 29, 2016, the Programs Committee for the Young Leaders Group hosted, “Fitness is the New Happy Hour” at MRP’s new mixed-use waterfront project, Dock79. The stylish 305-unit residential building located along the SE waterfront trail served as the perfect backdrop for the evening. Attendees toured the luxurious units and marveled at the numerous amenity spaces including a ground floor lounge, waterfront patio and state-of-the-art fitness center.

The panel was held in one of the building’s waterfront retail spaces – which will soon be home to one of the many restaurants that encompass the 19,000 of total retail space. Moderated by Streetsense’s Andrew Poncher, attendees heard from DC’s leading “fitness facilitators” on how they’re helping our urban communities improve the health and lifestyle of our residents.

From cross-fit to yoga to spinning, real estate developers recognize the market value and social importance of embedding health and wellness into the communities they build.  As the trend of boutique fitness facilities continues to grow and the booming demand for “atheleisure” wear, these institutions are beginning to transcend simple “in vogue” community amenities and are moving into the realm of true Urban Place Makers.

fitness-2Chris Farley, General Manager and Owner of Pacer’s Running, shared details on his growing business with multiple retail locations throughout the region. He candidly shared his experiences with increased competition from both online and brick and mortar retailers as well as which locations worked better than others. Farley described a need to focus on community focused fitness activities in order to remain competitive.

The Bike Rack’s Chuck Harney also described the need for adapting retail into a community focused environment. The owner’s newest store in Brookland combines bicycle shopping with a coffee shop that drives steady foot traffic and adds to the community-oriented experience.

fitness-3Meanwhile, Bozzuto’s John Pezzulla shared his experiences with various fitness retailers located at the recently completed Cathedral Commons. Pezzulla described the synergies created by taking what is typically considered less desirable second floor retail space and programming it with complimentary retail uses such as boutique specialty gyms. He reported that the retailers work well together and activate the space as a successful community element that attracts customers from the adjacent neighborhood as well as the project itself.

ULI would like to thank MRP Realty for hosting the event and sponsoring the networking reception that concluded the evening.



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