Treadmills are running, towels neatly folded, saunas fired, pools filled and upbeat music blaring at the new Life Time Brookfield as staff bustle about the 126,423-square-foot health center in preparation for its grand opening.
The massive resort-style facility at The Corridor mixed-use development is a first step into the Wisconsin market for Chanhassen, Minnesota-based Life Time Inc., which now has 147 large-format health clubs in 30 states and Canada.
Life Time Brookfield opened its doors Thursday night for a ribbon-cutting and VIP event. Starting today, it’s open exclusively for its first 1,500 members, known as “Founding Members,” before it opens to all members on Monday, Nov. 11.
The more than $47 million project was years in the making, said Jason Thunstrom, vice president of corporate communications at Life Time Inc.
“At any point in time, I’d say there are about 75 sites around the country where we are in various stages of investigating its availability to having finished a purchase to designing a building to construction to the point where we now are,” Thunstrom said. “Generally it takes 12 to 14 months to build, but this one took a few years to find the exact right site, the right timing.”
Life Time originally announced its intent to build the facility in January 2016, but those plans were put on hold until the company recommitted in February 2018.
Touting itself as “the third place” for its members after home and work, Life Time Brookfield has a full-service spa and salon, a business lounge with co-working space and conference rooms, executive-style locker rooms with saunas and steam room, a health-focused cafe with a full menu and to-go items, as well as a bar and lounge area. Not to mention both indoor and outdoor aquatic centers with zero-depth entry and lap pools.
There’s a full-scale sports and fitness area on its upper level with two full-sized NBA courts, 400 pieces of cardio and weight equipment, dedicated fitness studios and personal training services.
With families as a major target market for membership, Life Time offers a “kids academy” with dance, art, music and tumbling studios and a learning center for children ages three months to 11 years old.
There are no plans for additional Wisconsin locations at the this time, but “it certainly could happen,” said Thunstrom. And it’s promising that membership for its Brookfield location so far has been right on target.
But now that Life Time Brookfield is up and running, the key will be retaining those members. That’s where the club’s full- and- part-time staff, trainers and instructors come into play.
Life Time Brookfield currently employs about 285 people, but that number expected to increase during summer months when the outdoor pools open and summer camps begin. Every Life Time employ receives certifications from Life Time University, a training program aimed at streamlining customer service experience throughout the entire brand.
“Those relationships need to be formed,” said Thunstrom. “The most complex part of it is not running the areas– we know how to do that. It’s building those new relationships and, I hope for most members, creating new relationships and memberships for life. It’s the human side of the business now that is most important.”