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September 21, 2021

Planet Fitness to bulk up in larger Augusta space

Runners on treadmills inside a Planet Fitness location Courtesy / Planet Fitness Planet Fitness, which has 11 locations in Maine, is the country's second-leading fitness club franchise after Anytime Fitness, according to the Boston-based International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.

Pumped to do more business in Augusta, Planet Fitness will move to a larger space in December after signing a lease for 22,730 square feet inside the Capitol Shopping Center.

The location, at 152 Western Ave. across from the Augusta State Airport, will replace an existing, 9,000-square-foot Planet Fitness club at 246 Civic Center Drive, for Mike Cleary, a franchisee for the country's second-largest fitness chain after Anytime Fitness. Based in Hampton, N.H., Planet Fitness had 2,170 locations nationwide as of June 30.

"It's going to be an amazing club and we're super excited to be bringing the full Planet Fitness model to the Augusta market," Cleary told Mainebiz by phone on Tuesday. "This club will have all of our full amenities."

Features will include a mezzanine level overlooking the main gym floor and 120 pieces of cardio equipment, he said.

Cleary, a former airline pilot, owns five Planet Fitness franchise locations in Maine through Granite Coast Properties LLC in Portsmouth, N.H. The locations include a 28,000-square-foot South Portland site that opened last November. 

More recently, he expanded the Rockland location, which he opened in 2019, to 16,000 square feet inside a former J.C. Penney store.

In Augusta, Cleary will lease space from Burlington, Mass.-based KeyPoint Partners inside a 171,655-square-foot shopping center anchored by Shaw's Supermarkets, Big Lots and Dollar Tree. Other tenants include Applebee's, Lamey Wellehan and Jackson Hewitt. 

Cleary said the future club will combine three former spaces, two of which have been vacant for at least three or four years, and that the plan is to open by December. Renovation work started on Monday. Like his other locations the Augusta space offers good visibility and ample parking, Cleary said.

The move comes as Planet Fitness projects to be at the high end of its 75 to 100 new-store opening range this year and restarted issuing financial guidance last month. In last months second-quarter earnings report, it projected full-year revenue of $530 million to $540 million when it released second-quarter earnings.

Cleary's repositioning in Maine's capital city also comes as the industry as a whole seeks to get back on its feet after taking a pounding during the pandemic that was hardest on smaller gyms and studios.

In Augusta, "Planet Fitness is an outstanding traffic generator and major enhancement to the tenant mix at Capitol Shopping Center," said Don Mace, KeyPoint's Vice President of leasing, in a Monday news release, "The licensee will be constructing a showcase facility which should draw 400 to 500 members a day.

Cleary said he expects the new location to employ 18 to 20 people and said he's not encountered any hiring challenges in the current environment because "people love to work at Planet Fitness. It's a fun, fast-paced environment."

He also signaled that he will continue to expand in the Pine Tree State to capitalize on the growing popularity of gyms and fitness clubs after COVID lockdowns.

"We're working on other projects around the state that should be very exciting,' he said.

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