European gym operator debuts in UK with Splash

Urban Splash has re-let the 20,000 sq ft Matchbox in south Liverpool to another gym operator after the collapse of a deal last year.

FitForFree, based in the Netherlands, said it has chosen the landmark building for its first UK club.

Urban Splash completed Matchbox in December 2007 but it has remained vacant since. The 20,000 sq ft building was completed as speculative offices and was the developer's first new build in the city.

A letting was completed with Fit Club in April 2010 but by August it was apparent the gym would not be opening and Splash started seeking a replacement.

Walter Faulstroh, chief executive of Fit4Free UK, said: "We are very much looking forward to launching our UK operations and in addition to the Matchbox building in Speke, we will be launching 20 gyms throughout the UK in the near future. The site was right for us because of the design of the building, the location and the imminent audience already at the site. We're certain it's going to be a great success and are very proud to demonstrate that an amazing gym experience using the latest equipment and classes in such outstanding architectural premises can be offered from £9.95 per month. We consider this to be our flagship site in the UK."

Managing the deal through the process was former Urban Splash associate director Lynn Haime who introduced FitforFree to the company. She has since left Urban Splash to start her own property consultancy but her involvement saw the deal over the line. Haime added: "This is a huge vote of confidence for the Liverpool commercial market and a great addition to the Matchworks Estate."

Nathan Cornish, director of Urban Splash, said: "The FitForFree gym will be a fantastic facility for the hundreds of people already working at the site as well as the surrounding community who'll benefit from this large, affordable facility. We see this transaction as a huge step in taking the Matchwork estate to the next level with both quality in design and a mix of uses.

"This is one of the biggest lettings in Liverpool this year and is a great boost in confidence in the area, especially as this is a Dutch operation that sees this part of Liverpool has great prospects and is worth investing in."

Mason Owen and CB Richard Ellis acted on behalf of Urban Splash.

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