National gym chain Life Time is still looking to make its entry into the Richmond market, but it won’t be doing so at the troubled Stony Point Fashion Park.
The Minnesota-based company, which has more than 150 locations in the United States and Canada, last year confirmed it was casting an eye toward the Southside mall as a potential home of its first location in the Richmond area. But Stony Point is now off the table, Life Time spokeswoman Amy Williams said in an email.
“While we don’t currently have plans to be at Stony Point Fashion Park, we continue to have interest in Richmond,” Williams said. And while she didn’t elaborate on what caused the change of heart or when the decision was made, she did say the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t a factor.
Life Time has five outposts in Northern Virginia. Its locations offer gym space, tennis courts, cafes, spas and kids’ activities.
While Life Time didn’t publicly specify which space at Stony Point it was interested in, the mall’s anchor-sized space that once housed a Dick’s Sporting Goods seemed likely. Not only had the mall marked the space as a “health club” on its online directory around this time last year, when Life Time was weighing whether to plant its flag there, but the space is about 84,000 square feet, within striking distance of the company’s average gym size of 130,000 square feet. The former Dick’s has been empty since the sporting goods retailer left in 2018.
It’s unclear where things stand in the mall’s efforts to find a tenant for the Dick’s space. Mall management referred questions to The Woodmont Co., which manages the property. Woodmont didn’t respond to an inquiry. Currently, the former Dick’s space doesn’t have “health club” or any other information tied to it on the mall’s website.
Life Time’s decision to drop consideration of Stony Point comes amid a turbulent time for the mall. Starwood Retail Partners, which had owned Stony Point since 2014, fell behind on loan payments earlier this year and lost ownership of the mall to a special servicer, which manages troubled commercial mortgage-backed securities loans.
Stony Point reopened Monday after it temporarily closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It followed other area malls that reopened in mid-May. Last month, Stony Point lost its H&M location as the company reassessed its footprint, though a company spokesperson didn’t explicitly link the closing to the pandemic.