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SRS Canada Powers World Gym’s Aggressive Expansion

Toronto Retail

World Gym is in the midst of a rapid Canadian expansion, with six newly signed locations (including in Windsor, Hamilton and Orillia), another three to be finalized by year’s end, and up to 10 locations opening annually in the next five years—200k SF in Southern Ontario alone. It’s an ambitious target, but SRS Canada VP Lindsay Ryder (below)—who helped launch the Dallas-based retail brokerage's Toronto outpost in 2013, in partnership with Cresa—has given the fitness chain the muscle it needs to prevail. “They’re in huge growth mode right now,” she tells us, noting five more deals are slated to close in early 2016.


The departure of retailers like Target and Future Shop “opened up big holes and shook landlords up a bit,” Lindsay says. “If you lose an anchor you’re bound to start losing co-tenants in a centre until you fill that massive hole.” That’s been of benefit to World Gym. “There aren’t a lot of 20k SF active operators out there.” Deals that would be deemed too aggressive a year ago are now getting done by landlords who recognize “they’re facing zero net rents versus a lower range than they want.”  


Lindsay's working on deals for World Gym across Canada, but has been primarily focusing on smaller centres in Ontario that’ve been “sitting on vacancy for a while.” The fitness chain prefers to take portions of larger second- or third-generation distressed properties. “We don’t need to have the end cap of a centre that has 60 feet of frontage. As long as there’s good visibility and parking, (World Gym) can take the back portion space and give the cream to another tenant.” Among others, SRS is working with Burger King Canada master franchisee Redberry on securing new locations, and helping Montreal-based Java U (above) enter TO.