Metal Building Systems Give Healthy Trends a Boost:

The New Fitness & Recreational Sports Center


If you’re interested in starting your own fitness or recreational sports center or investing in one, there are now more health and wellness niches, business models and building options to choose from—or invent—than ever before. Fitness centers are also seeing a big resurgence in popularity with the slowing of the pandemic.

And whether your center occupies a small space in a multi-tenant commercial community (see our previous blog post for more on these construction trends) or a larger space in a stand-alone facility, metal building systems provide a flexible, cost-effective and customizable solution.

We’ve built several indoor sports arenas recently


Renewed Interest in Communal Fitness

The isolation many experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a widespread, renewed interest in personal fitness; so it was no surprise when revenue for gym memberships rose again in 2021 as pandemic restrictions abated. 

Now estimated at $32 billion, the industry is expected to grow to $434.74 billion between now and 2028. (1)

According to a November 8, 2022 article in the New York Times, “The enthusiasm reflects fatigue with solo workouts coupled with a quest for communal experiences, at a time when some at-home exercise equipment that became popular during lockdowns—like Peloton bikes—is falling out of favor.” (2)  

A Fitness Center to Fit Everyone

Fitness centers no longer fit the stereotype of an industrial-looking “gym” filled with barbells, intimidating weight machines, blank walls and aloof staff. The industry has proliferated into a wide variety of subtypes that offer something for everyone, including:

  • Health clubs with multiple facilities (pools, tennis courts, spas, etc.)
  • Crossfit centers 
  • “Big box” gyms 
  • Local and franchise boutique fitness studios
  • Highly specialized businesses like rock climbing gyms


Each center caters to a specific set of consumer needs, from luxury facilities that offer an abundance of choices to more minimalist outfits that offer fewer options in exchange for lower membership fees.  


Pools can certainly go in a Steel Building


How Fitness Studios Help Drive Retail Sales

Many boutique fitness studios occupy smaller spaces in outdoor shopping malls (think Orangetheory or locations), offering convenient access to adjoining restaurants, coffee shops, stores and other retailers in addition to their own services. 

While this proximity serves as an obvious benefit to fitness studio members, neighboring businesses often get a significant boost in traffic as well. 

According to The New York Times, “A retailer located in a shopping center that also has a gym receives, on average, 2.5% more visits a month compared with the same retailer’s other locations in centers without fitness businesses.” (3)

A Wall Street Journal article reports that “Adam Schwegman, partner and senior-vice president of leasing for North American Properties, which develops and operates mixed-use properties, said boutique studios offering workouts that appeal to female clientele, like barre classes, are particularly good at generating business for nearby stores.” (4)

And there is even greater potential in a shopping complex with more than one boutique fitness studio, which can trigger what has been called “the “restaurant effect:” when clusters of similar businesses pick up momentum from one another and attract many more customers than they would have alone. (5)  

Thanks to this kind of symbiotic relationship, multi-tenant shopping centers can be a lucrative investment for developers, store owners and fitness studio founders alike. 


Metal systems bring together fitness + more building opportunities


Bringing Fitness & Shopping Together with Metal Building Systems

Multi-tenant shopping centers with fitness studios are most easily and affordably constructed with metal building systems, which offer a number of benefits:

  • They allow the centers to be built quickly without sacrificing safety or accuracy
  • They’re extremely versatile, making the buildings and their constituent units easy to adapt for new uses
  • High quality metal building systems are extremely rugged and long-lasting, standing up to even the worst weather conditions
  • They require little to no maintenance


Industrial condominiums, or “industrial condos,” offer a particularly innovative and cost-effective approach to building a trendy new subtype of these shopping centers known as “commercial communities.” 

Easily constructed with metal building systems, these unique indoor-outdoor marketplaces feature a wide range of goods and services, from local produce to clothing to wine tastings. 

Fast and affordable to build with an extremely versatile framework, commercial communities can deliver a large return on investment in just a few years.


Clearing the span for great spaces


Using Clear Span Systems for Larger Spaces

For those looking to create larger spaces or stand-alone buildings such as those seen with CrossFit gyms, “big box” franchises, athletic training centers and recreational sports facilities, metal building systems are ideal for slightly different reasons.

Like their smaller counterparts, large-scale metal building systems are both cost-effective and durable, but offer the additional benefit of open concept spaces.  

“Clear Span” metal building systems do not require support columns, so they can be used to create expansive interiors with unobstructed floor areas, maximal ceiling heights and overhead doors. 

This makes them perfect for large spaces such as:

  • school and community gymnasiums
  • open floor plan fitness centers (such as traditional weightlifting gyms)
  • indoor pools
  • basketball, tennis and other courts
  • athletic training facilities
  • multi-function recreational centers that house more than one exercise or sports facility
  • ice skating and hockey rinks
  • Crossfit centers


Buildings constructed with clear span metal building systems are also easy to renovate and repurpose, as there are no load-bearing walls to complicate new floor plans.

Growing interest in highly personalized yet communal fitness experiences has created an especially favorable climate for today’s exercise and sports center start-ups as well as forward-looking commercial developers. And metal building systems are the ideal medium for shaping the future they are envisioning.

Contact Package Steel at 1-800-225-7242 or [email protected] to get started on your dream fitness studio, recreational facility, or athletic center today.

(1) Colmar, Chris. “22 Fulfilling Fitness Industry Statistics [2022]: Home Workout and Gym Statistics.” Zippia,17 Nov. 2022. 

(2)  Margolies, Jane. “For Fitness Buffs and Landlords, Gyms Are Hot Again.” The New York Times, 8 Nov. 2022.

(3) Margolies, Jane. “For Fitness Buffs and Landlords, Gyms Are Hot Again.” The New York Times, 8 Nov. 2022.

(4)  King, Kate. “Gym Workouts Are Back and Boosting Business at Shopping Centers.” The Wall Street Journal, 6 Sep. 2022.

(5)  Rosman, Katherine. “The Boutique Fitness Boom.” The New York Times, 17 Jun. 2019.


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