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Minny Penney’s to become an ‘athletic resort’


The J.C. Penney store in Edina, Minnesota, with little movement in the aisles is about to see a lot more action.

Simon has announced that the 120,000-sq.-ft. space at its Southdale Center will close and be replaced by a Life Time ‘athletic resort.’ The company runs 123 centers in the U.S. promoting healthy eating and exercise regimens. Centers are one-stop fitness shops offering tennis, swimming, basketball, and yoga along with weight loss and nutrition education.

Life Time founder Bahram Akradi’s vision for his concept is to turn shopping centers into “healthy lifestyle villages” where people work a heavy dose of healthy living into their live-work-play lifestyles.

“Our focus is to develop all-inclusive destinations that encompass the full spectrum of daily life for thousands of individuals, couples and families of all ages," said Akradi.

Southdale Center, which opened in 1956, has the distinction of being the nation’s first indoor regional shopping mall, according to Simon, which looks to lengthen its life span by infusing it with modern offerings and energy.

This project with Life Time is part of a larger vision for Southdale Center, to create a connected community epicenter," said Michael McCarty, Simon’s executive VP of Development Operations. "With new nearby apartments, the recently opened Hennepin County Service Center, a hotel coming soon, and this athletic resort on the way, Southdale is realizing that vision."

Life Time is a rapidly expanding concept with a presence in almost 30 states. Southdale is one of 10 new clubs under development at the current time.

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