A yoga studio with a place for children to romp is the third workout business to sign a lease at the Old Mill District in the past year.
Free Spirit, which offers adult yoga and fitness classes along with children’s climbing and other activities, will occupy a 3,100-square-foot space next to Orange Theory Fitness this fall, the Old Mill District announced.
A national chain focused on heart rate training, Orange Theory opened in November in the building formerly occupied by Orvis.
Then in June, CycleBar, a spinning studio, opened at the other end of the mall next to the Lululemon athletic apparel store.
The Old Mill District will be 100 percent occupied after Labor Day, spokeswoman Noelle Fredland said. Many national retail chains are shrinking their footprints, but Fredland said fitness studios haven’t been a second-choice category of tenant for the Old Mill.
In the case of Free Spirit, she said the Old Mill bypassed more traditional retailers. “We felt like it was a really great use for that space,” Fredland said.
Fitness studios aren’t necessarily new for the Old Mill. The mall previously hosted Pure Barre, which closed last year. That space is slated to be occupied by Boxwood Kitchen this fall, Fredland said.
Bend retail spaces had a 3.2 percent vacancy rate in the second quarter, according to Compass Commercial Real Estate Services. “As far as I can tell, there are more retail tenants running around looking for space than there are spaces available that work for them,” said Russell Huntamer, principal broker at Compass. Annual rent in premium buildings ranges from $22 per square foot to $40 per square foot, excluding operating expenses, he said.
Free Spirit owner Seth Augustine said he was surprised to find the Old Mill’s representatives so open to his business concept. He figured the property would be viewed as saturated with fitness studios, and there would be a preference for national chains.
“They were so into it,” Augustine said. “They thought there would be this awesome synergy with Orange Theory and yoga.”
About two-thirds of Free Spirit’s space will be devoted to a children’s play area, Augustine said. The current plan is to offer a ninja warrior obstacle course, bouldering wall and slide with a ball pit, he said. Children will be able to play while their parents are at a fitness class, or come in for their own classes, he said. The studio will also have an area for toddlers whose parents are attending a class.
Augustine said he and his wife, Rachel, saw success with family-oriented programming at their San Francisco yoga studio, Thriveability. They moved to Bend about a year ago. After touring all the indoor play places in town with their toddler son, they realized there was a need for a place that combined adult and youth fitness, he said.
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