As everyone knows at this point, CrossFit RVA will be moving Fall 2016. This move has been in the works for a very long time, and until very recently, was in no way guaranteed.
Why are we moving?
Most days, the gym will feel pretty full for most classes, but manageable. Parking can be a little tedious, but we make it work. Our current location is pretty awesome. So why would we move?
It really doesn’t take much space to run a CrossFit group class. There’s plenty of great facilities with only a few thousand square feet and sizable membership bases. However, I have personally always had interests outside of CrossFit. It’s an excellent gateway to a healthy lifestyle, improved movement, and training with performance in mind. But it’s easy for this to lead to other interests, and the basic CrossFit group class format, with skilled instructors working with small groups, is applicable to many other disciplines.
I want the to space to help as many like-minded people with diverse needs, while giving the CrossFit classes the room needed to excel. I want to have an organized layout that makes sense. And, I want to be able to effectively offer little amenities, like a place for kids to hang out, and enough space to offer open gym times. Our current gym layout facilitates that to some extent, but not as much as I’d like. Eventually, I’d like to also run youth strength and conditioning classes, conduct corporate wellness programs, have a national-level weightlifting team, and grow RVA Fit, all while continuing to improve the quality of our CrossFit program.
As CrossFit has moved more into the mainstream, I also think it’s necessary to provide a gym atmosphere that is inviting and professional while retaining the rugged feel that brought so many in the door to begin with. I want a facility where members want to spend time; where they don’t think twice to come early and stay late. But, while still feeling they are in a gym whose primary concern is function.
Our current location has helped us through incredible growth and development in other regards for the gym, but it isn’t a permanent solution to the above concerns.
What’s Happened So Far
I started looking around for a new location a year ago. It’s not a particularly interesting process, but I looked at many buildings, and none of them were a good fit. We have a fairly specific need; lots of space, low per sq ft cost, decent parking, and easily accessible. I first stepped foot in the building on Hermitage this time last year. I loved it immediately, though it needed some work. However, at that time we still had 9+ months of rent left at our current location. I put in an aggressive offer, asked for lots of free rent (paying that much double rent isn’t feasible), and got turned down. After looking around some more, I put in a less aggressive offer a couple months later, to no avail. I continued to look around, but most of my options weren’t panning out. By the time March had rolled around, all of the facilities I’d looked at wouldn’t work for one reason or another. To top it off things weren’t looking great with our initial negotiations for a renewal at our current location.
Over time, I was able to smooth things out with the current landlord and get basic terms moving in the right direction. But, it felt like I was settling, and to top it off, the lease itself was the least tenant friendly document I’d ever seen. I proceeded to continue to negotiate a renewal, but after hitting a few snags, decided to put one more offer in on the Hermitage building. Long story short, it ended up working out after a few months of waiting and nail biting. We have our current space through the end of the year, which should provide plenty of time to get the new space squared away!
Next up, I’ll fill everyone in on the basic ideas for the gym so far, and the work we’ve done to this point!