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Originally published Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Luxury gym Equinox takes shine to Seattle

A New York-based gym that touts its popularity with professional athletes, movie stars and CEOs is headed to downtown Seattle. Equinox said it will...

Seattle Times business reporter

A New York-based gym that touts its popularity with professional athletes, movie stars and CEOs is headed to downtown Seattle.

Equinox said it will open a 35,000-square-foot fitness center at the "1" hotel-and-condominium project when construction is completed in two years.

Owned by The Related Companies, a real-estate-development firm, Equinox operates 41 gyms in New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Southern California and the San Francisco area.

It promises strong attention to detail — from mood lighting to fresh towels on stationary bikes before each spinning class — and an ability to cater to "high achievers who are used to having the finest of everything," according to a company description.

"We attract an upscale demographic who wants a more luxurious experience and can afford it," said Equinox Chief Executive Harvey Spevak. "But we're also aspirational to a younger demographic as they move up."

A basic monthly membership will cost between $130 and $140, plus $300 or $400 to join, Spevak said. That would put it at the top end of what downtown fitness centers charge.

All-star Fitness at Olive Way and Fifth Avenue, for instance, charges $39 to $69 monthly, said General Manager Jason Brown. It has expanded in the past year from 13,000 to 45,000 square feet.

A monthly membership at the newly opened Rain Fitness in South Lake Union is $49 and up.

Equinox is known for a high level of "service and cleanliness," said Eric Zientek, general manager at the 14,000-square-foot Rain Fitness. "It prides itself on not just granting memberships for the sake of granting memberships. It's very nurturing and intimate," he said, adding that Rain Fitness takes a similar approach.

The "1" is to open in late 2009 at Second Avenue and Pine Street with an emphasis on luxury accommodations and environmental consciousness.

It will be the first hotel-and-condo project to operate the "1" brand under hotel-industry veteran Barry Sternlicht.

The 23-story building will include 176 condo-hotel rooms, 51 regular condos and a specialty grocer on the ground floor.

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The gym and a 5,000-square-foot spa managed by Equinox will be on the seventh and eighth floors.

Gym members will be able to park for free for up to two hours daily in an on-site garage, Spevak said.

"We've always believed we belong in Seattle," he said.

"It may not be as big" as Equinox's other markets, he noted. "But certainly, Seattle has a discriminating consumer who is urban in focus, and that speaks very well to the Equinox model."

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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