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New Balance building health and wellness community

Front desk and juice bar area at NB Fitness Club LLCMaking a “campus” for a company headquarters is a very popular idea. It makes employees feel comfortable, more like being in a community rather than an office building. And like being in your community, you can get a lot accomplished on one area.

That was part of the mindset for Jim Davis, the owner of New Balance, when he decided to open his first fitness club in Boston, across from company’s headquarters on Guest Street. He hopes to open a sports center – with a track and hockey rink – as well.

The project was part of a broader vision to have a health and wellness community in the area – both his company and neighbors in the Allston neighborhood of Boston.

Currently other than New Balance Headquarters and NB Fitness Club LLC, Pro Sports Orthopedics recently opened its doors, while Spaulding Rehabilitation Outpatient Center will move in soon. 

“(Davis) thought health and wellness fit in well (with New Balance) and hoped to make a health district of sorts,” said John Fitzgerald, general manager of NB Fitness. 

“When people think of New Balance they think of fitness. To have a club next door reflects (New Balance’s) brand.”

The club is not solely for New Balance employees. It is there for the community, which includes WGBH, the Boston public television station, a radio station and other smaller businesses. 

There is also a plan to build a hotel on land Davis owns on the street.

Spin room at NB Fitness Club LLCEven though there had previously been a Bally’s and Planet Fitness in the space, the layout didn’t work. Fitzgerald, who previously worked at Equinox fitness clubs in Chicago, renovated it in order to have better flow. He added a spin studio, group fitness room, and a Pilates room, as well as adding space in the locker rooms. There is a massage room, as well as saunas.

The front desk area, which has seats for members to enjoy a drink from the juice bar or to use the Wifi, is open and airy. The idea was to make the club more personable – employees swipe members’ identification cards to ensure interaction.

“I like to relate our front desk to that of a high-end hotel,” Fitzgerald said. “Someone comes in and they are greeted by someone smiling from behind the desk. It makes it more personal.”

Fitzgerald also made sure there were plenty of windows. The club is on a corner and windows dominate the two walls that look out onto the street.

Fitzgerald also opted for Cybex equipment in order to have two Massachusetts-based companies working together. Davis is from Massachusetts and worked a couple nearby companies before buying New Balance on Marathon Monday in 1972 when the company only had five employees.

Despite being in an office building, the club is run like a residential club. It is open seven days a week and parking is even validated.

A man runs on one of the many treadmills in front of large windows at NB Fitness Club LLC.They offer corporate memberships and have even talked with a couple companies about possible wellness programs being held in the club.

“New Balance wants to be a leader in health and wellness. Having corporate memberships benefits everyone,” said Fitzgerald. “We want to be able to provide multiple services for everyone in the community.”


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