No Body signs on as Echo Plaza anchor tenant

//July 24, 2009

No Body signs on as Echo Plaza anchor tenant

//July 24, 2009

Startup fitness operator signed a 21,500-square-foot-lease.Startup fitness operator No Body Denied Health Club has signed a 21,500-square-foot-lease as the new anchor tenant at Echo Plaza Shopping Center, a 66,568-square-foot retail property at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and U.S. Route 22, in Springfield.

Echo Plaza will serve as the first club location for the new company, according to Ken Carrier, founder and principal of No Body Denied. “We chose Echo Plaza for our initial location because that area is in dire need of a new health club,” said Carrier, who plans to open additional clubs in northern New Jersey.

“We like the fitness use as an anchor because of the amount of people it brings to the center,” said Ethan Goldsmith, a broker with North Plainfield-based Levin Management Corp., which is the leasing agent for the property. “Clubs of this size tend to have membership in the thousands,” and those members typically come one or two times a week — about the same frequency as a supermarket.

Goldsmith acknowledged that having a startup as an anchor tenant “can be a concern,” but noted that Carrier had opened more than a dozen health clubs working for another operator in New Jersey, and another partner in No Body Denied is an architect who designs health clubs.

No Body Denied is slated to move into the shopping center during the first quarter of 2010, Goldsmith said. The lease for the current anchor tenant, Big Lots, ends in September, and construction for the new tenant fit-out will begin in October, he said.

“A fitness facility will draw somewhat of a more upscale audience to the center, and that will facilitate our leasing efforts,” said Goldsmith, who said about 20,000 square feet of space remains available at the center; existing tenants include Outback Steakhouse and Sherwin Williams.

Hillsborough-based developer Larken Associates earlier this year purchased Echo Plaza — which includes the 66,568-square-foot Echo Plaza Shopping Center and Echo Executive Plaza, a 40,880-square-foot office building — from Paragano Development LLC for approximately $16.3 million in an all-cash sale.

Larken plans a $4 million renovation of both the retail and office spaces of Echo Plaza, according to Victor Kelly, the company’s executive vice president. The capital improvements, expected to be completed by spring 2010, will include a new exterior façade and roof, tenant signage, a marquee sign and exterior landscaping at the retail complex, and a new lobby, common bathrooms and corridors at the office building.

E-mail Evelyn Lee at [email protected]