What to Consider When Planning a Gym: Space Repurposing

Regardless of the SIZE of your commercial gym project, it’s important to design your ideal amenity space from a standpoint focused on form and function. 

Determining if your chosen space can be reinvented, repurposed, or updated to fit your goals is just the first step in going from initial concept to finished product. 

Our team of experts share everything you need to know to properly repurpose an existing space to build a gym. 

Yes, there are lots of considerations to explore when determining IF you can repurpose your chosen space, AND how to do so without negatively affecting the quality of life living or working above, around, or below.

The proper layout and design of a gym amenity not only has to look good, but it has to function correctly and safely. We work with developers and management companies alike to convert space such as a storage room, basement, or an old office into a commercial gym that accommodates different fitness levels safely & effectively.

So, let's begin.

So how do you repurpose a space? 

The good news is it’s not important that you have a lot of available square footage to create a fitness amenity. (Whether you have 500 sq. ft. or 5,000 sq. ft. Gym Source can help you build a space that will be functional and versatile.)

What IS important is that you consider the factors below when creating or completing your amenity upgrade to avoid the most common mistakes when repurposing space for a gym. 


Where is it located in the building in relation to the tenants, offices and other common spaces?
How will repurposing the space affect the quality of life of those living above, around, below the new fitness center?

Thomas Jackowski Commercial Consultant with Gym Source shares:

"Consulting with an expert is your best approach when choosing the location, because there are a lot of elements impacting whether you can successfully occupy the space. It's important you view the project as an onion, and strategically approach all the layers."


- You must find out what the space is zoned for.
- Is there a certificate of occupancy?
- Has your architect completed their research with the Department of Buildings (DOB) to determine what the Certificate of Occupancy (COO) is on file for that proposed space?
- Have you completed an analysis to see if the COO does applies for the kind of space you’re planning to build?

If your due diligence results show that the desired location cannot be legally occupied, your architect should be able to tell you what can be done to get that space repurposed properly.


INGRESS/EGRESS: Most Department of Buildings want more than one method of ingress/egress. Occupants need a clear path to freedom, which can be difficult in older buildings. You may need to take a window out and turn it into a door opening into a courtyard or you might add a door. Your space must meet the current code for DOB ingress/egress code. 

SPRINKLER SYSTEM: If you are repurposing an old super’s office, locker room or storage space you probably don't have sprinklers. You’ll have to meet the new sprinkler code.

HEAT/COOLING/FRESH AIR: Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system will have to heat/cool and ventilate the space as required by the Department of Building. Most Department of Buildings require a certain amount of fresh air in the space.  Some recirculated air is fine, but a certain percentage of the air that comes into the space has to be clean, fresh air.  

ADA REQUIREMENTS: All buildings must meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  These requirements don’t only apply to ingress/egress issues, if you add a bathroom or plan your equipment layout - whatever you use the room for it has to meet ADA requirements.


You would be amazed how ceiling height affects the job. 

For example, when working with older buildings you tend to get low ceilings because they are designed to accommodate ducts or pipes running through the ceiling and vertically through the walls.

Thomas Jackowski explains:

"Pre-existing piping or duct work can reduce or diminish the usable space or disqualify the space for consideration. Working with an expert to strategically approach your project is a great way to decide if your chosen space is worth the investment to move pipes etc, or if there is another space that would work better for you."

Much like sound suppression, space repurposing requires a multi-layer approach to ensure you can successfully complete your project, and the solutions you will need to implement to limit the impact on those nearby.  

To learn the most important considerations to address when planning for suppression of noise here. 

You can spend a lot of money repurposing older spaces and it just doesn't make sense.
So, what can you do to ensure your strategically maximize your fitness investment? 

First, work with a strategic partner like Gym Source & Skyline Amenity Group who have years of experience building fitness amenity spaces. 

Tom Kyme, owner of Skyline Amenity Group, shares our process to assess a space in its current form and plan for the best solutions:

“First, we create a 2D drawing of the space showing what can be allocated to the space to scale. From there, we can prepare a preliminary budget that can be presented to a building’s board or owners. Once the project is approved we will guide the client step-by-step through the process. We’ll help you determine if you need to engage an architect, then provide a full set of biddable drawings, city approvals, construction pricing, execution right through to equipment selection and opening.“

Wow - that's a lot to consider when exploring the best way to repurpose existing space to build a fitness amenity.

Don't worry - we can act as your strategic fitness partner. 

We want to work with you to plan the perfect solutions for your project (new construction or in an existing space) with custom fitness solutions. 

Together we’ll can create an amenity that will excite your users. 

Get started today. Schedule a consultation with your local Gym Source commercial sales representative.

Share this story: