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VOL. 118 | NO. 29 | Tuesday, February 17, 2004

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Collierville demographics attracts fitness club

Busy Corner Attracts Health Club, Retail

Nebraska-based fitness center picks Collierville for new club


The Daily News

Construction will start soon on a multi-level shopping center at a key intersection in Collierville that will include a fitness center new to the local market.

Omaha, Neb.-based Prairie Life Health and Fitness Center will open a full-service health club in a 60,000-square-foot freestanding facility at the southeast corner of Poplar Avenue and Houston Levee Road, across the street from a soon-to-open Kohls department store.

Busy intersection, busy town. Developer John Trezevant, a partner in Houston Levee Galleria, which includes McNeill Levee Group Joint Venture and TresMar V Joint Venture, said the 55,000-square-foot Houston Levee Galleria shopping center will go up next to the six-acre health club site.

According to The Daily News Public Records Database, a 20.9-acre tract was purchased from South Oak Joint Venture for $4.8 million and a 4.8-acre tract was purchased from Hackmeyer/Hailey Properties for $2.2 million.

Trezevant said the decision to develop the tract stemmed from two other commercial properties the group recently developed in Collierville Collierville Marketplace and Almadale Crossing.

"Due to the success of those two, we were anxious to build our third shopping complex in Collierville," Trezevant said, adding that negotiations are under way with prospective tenants.

The first phase of construction on the shopping center is slated to begin in early spring and finish in the fall. Trezevant said plans include five or six outparcels designated for restaurant, bank and retail space. Several more acres have been targeted for office or hotel space.

Retail hot spot. He said the developers are confident the property's prominent location will draw plenty of customers.

The site has quick access to Bill Morris Parkway and is a short distance from Carriage Crossing Colliervilles planned 810,000-square-foot lifestyle center shopping mall that will be built on 93 acres.

Trezevant Realty Corp. vice president Tom Marsh said the center will more closely resemble the Regalia and Laurelwood shopping centers in Memphis than Carriage Crossing.

"This is an open-air center, and that (Carriage Crossing) may be a mall without a roof," he said. But this will more cater to the Germantown and Collierville customers, where the mall is more of a regional location."

Although a number of Collierville residents protested the development of Carriage Crossing because of its size and the new traffic it will bring to the suburb, the developers of Houston Levee Galleria said the approval process has been relatively smooth so far.

"Weve concluded much of the approval process with Collierville and are going in for approval of the shopping center part of it," Trezevant said.

Right demographic. Dean Rasmussen, president and co-owner of Prairie Life Center along with former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey said the owners are pleased with the centers location at the busy Houston Levee/Poplar intersection, adding they were seeking a site that would surround the center with Collierville's plethora of young, affluent families.

We look very closely at cities that have a pretty substantial population base, but more specifically, the right demographics," Rasmussen said. This area met our standards. We like to be as close to affluent residents as possible. There, we back up to it."

According to The Daily News database, Prairie Life purchased the property from Houston Levee Galleria Joint Venture for $2.1 million.

The first Prairie Life center, a full-service fitness club that focuses on adults and families, opened in Lincoln, Neb., in 1984. The company currently has four centers in Nebraska, two in Kansas and one in Iowa. Rasmussen said because the center offers childrens fitness programs, it differs from most fitness clubs already in the Metro Memphis market.

"We build one every three years and have slow, controlled growth," Rasmussen said. "We are successful before we get to open the next one, and we think Memphis is a great market for us."

The Collierville center will contain a full-size gymnasium, indoor and outdoor Olympic-size swimming pools, exercise equipment, a jogging track and whirlpools, steam rooms and saunas for ladies and men.

Inman Construction Co. is the fitness centers general contractor. The center is expected to be completed by January.

Healthy competition. Rasmussen said the company will conduct a study to determine membership costs and will hold a pre-opening membership drive.

The Prairie Life Center site is just a few miles west of the Collierville YMCA. Rasmussen said the company took note of that Y's popularity.

"They clearly are a competitor to our business, though they are not-for-profit," he said. They've got a good spot and seem to be doing well.

"Our facility is not that different, but we think we'll be accepted, as well."


PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108