VOL. 129 | NO. 151 | Tuesday, August 5, 2014
By Andy Meek
As the owner of Inbalance Fitness in Cooper-Young, Scott Lebowitz is focused on the physical health of the clients who walk through his doors.
Scott Lebowitz, owner of Inbalance Fitness, at his company’s Cooper-Young location where he is also the owner of the commercial property.
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Starting a few years ago, however, Lebowitz began to wear an additional, albeit less obvious, professional hat. He’s also a commercial property owner, having bought the building in which his business operates as well as the space of other Cooper-Young businesses around him – which means that in addition to his clients’ health, he’s also paying close attention to the health of the neighborhood.
It started about five years ago, when the previous owner of Inbalance’s property approached Lebowitz about buying it. A year or so later, he teamed up with some family members to create a business entity that bought the property, and he spent the years since then basically getting the property spruced up with new paint and better roofing.
Not surprisingly, it has added a new dimension to his work, having to manage and think about property ownership in addition to running a business.
As far as his own business goes, Inbalance is in growth mode, and Lebowitz is talking openly about a third location that would complement the Cooper-Young and Harbor Town facilities. As a result of the property management, meanwhile, he has managed to bring in enough business around him that, as of July 1, it’s now 100 percent leased.
“It’s really been fun to kind of see it evolve over the past few years,” said Lebowitz, whose property is part of a stretch of real estate that has eight rentable bays. “It was a great opportunity for us. It certainly stabilized the gym as far as its rent was concerned. And we felt like it was also going to stabilize the community around us, because we were able to have a vision about the direction we wanted to go with the tenants we wanted to attract.”
Those tenants include Tart, the bakery and cafe that opened in May, as well as Midtown Yoga and Cooper Street 20/20, among others.
Midtown Yoga opened nearby last year. A few doors down from Inbalance is Basil Bailey Salon, which brings a focus on beauty and wellness that fits with the physical fitness and wellness that Lebowitz’s studio focuses on. And next door to Inbalance is Phillip Ashley Chocolates, another food venture that fits in well with a neighborhood known for its quality food offerings.
“Also nearby is Cooper Street 20/20, which does prepared foods and farm-to-table types of things,” Lebowitz said. “And then Tart bakery, which does baked goods, desserts, bread, stuff like that. They also serve coffee, breakfast and lunch. The last tenant we’ve brought in is Silicone Arts, and they’ve just signed. That happened July 1. They were the final piece to fully leasing the property.”
“We were able to have a vision about the direction we wanted to go with the tenants we wanted to attract.”
Lebowitz’s own business in Cooper-Young is a personal training studio focused on personalized fitness and wellness programming, implementation and professional supervision. His Harbor Town facility includes a full-service gym and offers group fitness classes, personal training and 24-hour access.
By way of demonstrating how his business is in the midst of expansion, Lebowitz said the Midtown facility recently added a few more trainers, and membership at Harbor Town has grown about 20 percent a year over the past four years.
Inbalance is also expanding its management team to accommodate areas in which it wants to increase its focus, such as the business’s Internet presence.
“It’s been interesting to become a commercial property owner, because it’s changed the way I approach my business,” Lebowitz said. “Where my focus was just on my business, now I concern myself with everybody that’s here and their success. Now we’ve gotten finally fully leased, and this is kind of a chance to see how far this can go.”