SYRACUSE — Aspen Athletic Clubs will open a location in downtown Syracuse this spring.
The downtown club, which will be Aspen’s third, is planned for Onondaga Tower, the former HSBC Tower at 125 E. Jefferson St. It will be 6,000 square feet and include cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills and elliptical machines, free weights, strength-training resistance machines, and a 10-person spinning room.
“We want to cater to the people who want to live downtown, but we also know it’s going to be a very big corporate facility with people who work downtown,” says Nichole Polos, who owns Aspen and manages the company with her husband, Brent Polos. “We do have a few companies that are downtown that have already shown interest in getting corporate programs set up.”
Nichole Polos declined to name interested corporate clients, but said the new club’s location played a role in its size and design. It is smaller than Aspen’s other clubs — the company’s club in Clay is just less than 20,000 square feet, while its location in Cicero is about 25,000 square feet.
The downtown location will not have a Kids’ Korner to provide child-care services, a feature at the other Aspen locations. And it will contain 25 pieces of cardiovascular equipment instead of the 100 pieces in each of the company’s suburban clubs.
Polos expects many of the people using the downtown club will be on a break from work.
“We don’t anticipate nearly as many workouts per day as we do in a suburban setting, and we don’t anticipate workouts that are as long,” she says. “With the corporate setting, people will come and go at pretty much a steady pace, we believe, from the opening of work to the after-work time.”
The downtown club will open at 4 a.m., making it available to anyone who wants to exercise before work, Polos says. It will also be open for those who want to exercise at the end of the day, although its closing time has not yet been set in stone. It will likely close at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., according to Polos.
Between 20 and 30 employees will work at the downtown club, and about eight will be full time. Part-time employees will include trainers, front-desk staff, and spinning-class instructors.
Nearly all of the downtown club’s employees will be new hires, according to Polos. Aspen will transfer the downtown club’s manager from another location and will try to hire new spinning instructors and certified professional trainers, she says.
Aspen is offering universal membership, meaning members who join the downtown club will be able to use the company’s suburban locations. And members in Clay and Cicero will be able to visit the downtown club.
The club is offering a pre-sale in February for its downtown location that will allow gym users to enroll with a $15 down-payment and monthly payments of $15. That is lower than the club’s typical rate of a $99 down payment and monthly payments of $19.
Aspen is leasing the downtown location from CBD Brokerage, LLC. Renovation costs are built into its lease, according to Polos.
Other Aspen expansion plans
Aspen’s planned Syracuse club is one of several growth efforts. The company also plans to open a new suburban location “very soon,” says Polos.
She declined to say where the new suburban club will be located because Aspen has yet to sign a lease. But it will be similar in size to Aspen’s other suburban clubs, she says.
Aspen’s current suburban clubs employ about 60 employees. Around 20 of those are full-time workers.
The company would eventually like to have locations spread around Syracuse, Polos says.
“Our goal is to have clubs in as many suburbs as the need arises, and then keep the downtown location as the core corporate facility,” she says. “Then [we could] possibly do more express locations in the smaller suburbs.”
The fitness club recently added a sports-specific training facility to its Cicero location. The facility includes NFL-grade turf on the ground, climbing ropes, ropes to throw, and fitness machines, Polos says.
“It’s going to be a huge asset for athletes and cross-training in general,” she says. “It’s the type of training that’s going to help in daily life and real-life activity — any sport, and really just functional living itself.”
The expansion, which opened in February, added 2,500 square feet to the Cicero club, according to Polos. It cost approximately $150,000, including the cost of installing turf and leases on training machines. Aspen financed the expansion with cash reserves, she says.