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Case Study — The Fairways at Feather Sound

The Fairways at Feather Sound

Case Study by Crystal Capone

  • Echelon EX5s
  • FitX Reflexion
  • Aviron Impact Rower
  • Star Trac 4 Series Treadmill
  • Throwdown 2’x 4’ Compact Rig

About the Fairways at Feather Sound

Nestled near the lush greens of Feather Sound Country Club in Clearwater, FL, the Fairways at Feather Sound offers a modern residential community for young professionals. It’s a beautiful place, close to luxury and Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches. 

It’s also prime real estate; a quick Zillow search shows a hypercompetitive market with monthly rent hovering around the national average. With rent increasing 4% over the past year, Clearwater properties need to stand out to prove its worth.

This is what often leads to a gym renovation. When American Landmark recently acquired the Fairways at Feather Sound, they knew the complex’s outdated gym space wasn’t working in their favor. A younger demographic desires more modern amenities and may look forward to cutting ancillary costs, like a commercial gym membership.

My relationship with American Landmark goes back about six years. In contrast, Fairways needed a quick turnaround to show current residents and prospective renters that they were serious about updating their amenity space.

Making Ends Meet

The question we needed to answer: How do you make something that’s good and make it exceptional for a minimal investment?

We’re getting to the point where virtual fitness is highly competitive with traditional fitness in the gym space. In-home fitness technologies quickly created a social expectation during the coronavirus pandemic, and residents don’t want to be constrained by the machines in a single space. Visitors now want to be engaged.

Even though it’s one of the newer trends on the scene, virtual fitness packs a surprising amount of punch for something so simple. Whether it’s a ‘mirror’ workout or a hybrid cardio machine telling you what to do or changing resistance, the value of workout instruction away from a traditional fitness setting and at your own pace is something that keeps the nontraditional gym-goer coming back for more.

Many locations are hesitant to invest in the subscriptions that come with those virtual offerings. But in this case, we were able to bundle the subscriptions in multi-year deals, instead of monthly installments. This way, Fairways at Feather Sound never had to deal with the hassle of recurring costs that come with virtual fitness upkeep.

Exploring the Space

Fairways’ previous space was filled with gray treadmills and bulky, all-in-one cable machines; not exactly a layout or space that emanates modernity.

We overdid grays in the fitness industry for years. The gray machines tend to show dirt and scuff marks more. This is why we opted for a sleeker look on this project with the new black Star Trac treadmills. These treadmills also have intuitive, colorful screens and commercial-grade virtual cardio machines.

New, sleek treadmills from Star Trac at the Fairways at Feather Sound.

The squat rack and storage space was another added bonus that combines a number of different exercise functions and equipment without any added space.

A new squat rack and storage space cutout within an apartment complex's fitness space.

People tend to appreciate the vertical storage route. You can do a lot of different exercises within a small space and without products all over the floor.

On the Floor

Because of the younger demographic with Fairways at Feather Sound, the goal with this amenity space was to make it look cool and attractive. So one of our first thoughts was not to do the traditional, rolled rubber look. Let’s do a different type of floor — something fun. 

The two-toned hardwood floor look isn’t exactly what one might expect in a fitness space. But this one was reinforced by a rubber flooring underneath to render the space both functional and more aesthetically modern. Custom black turf cut-outs were also added to sectionalize workout spaces.

Lastly, take a look at the space between each exercise station. More machines do not equal a positive experience for your end-user. The added space improves visitors’ ability to move around without bumping into equipment (or worrying they’re bumping into others).

Summing it Up

Gym design really is part functionality, and part attractiveness. Today’s fitness centers marry functional fitness with the traditional. The difference is that we’re not some Joe Schmoe who’s going to throw some treadmills in a room and call it a day.

When we combined a modern space with modern equipment, we learned the sum of an amenity space’s parts are more than its components. While designs won’t stay static or go 100% according to plan, it’s top priority to adapt the space to fit the end user needs. 

More Photos from This Project