Carrie Rengers

Genesis Health Clubs expands into Manhattan

Genesis Health Clubs owner Rodney Steven II has finalized his seventh deal in seven months to expand into a new market, this time Manhattan.

“I’ve been working on coming to Manhattan for a lot of years, to be honest,” he says. “I just never could find the right entrance.”

Steven says he almost had a deal for a Manhattan club seven years ago.

“I’ve been pursuing the market ever since.”

Genesis, which now has 20 clubs in Kansas and Missouri, is entering Manhattan in two ways.

“We decided to go ahead and build a location in Manhattan,” Steven says.

Also, a deal came together for him to acquire the two Max Fitness centers there.

“This acquisition just kind of came at the same time,” Steven says.

The Max Fitness sites are at 405 E. Poyntz and 3011 Anderson avenues, the latter of which likely will close when the new Genesis is built at 2704 Allison Ave. and 0000 Fort Riley Blvd.

“We’ll look at our options at that time,” Steven says.

The new Genesis that he’s building, which will feature what Steven calls an “absolutely stunning” all-glass front, will be on a prominent hilltop in the city.

“It was actually scheduled to be two hotels, and they ended up going somewhere else,” he says.

“It’s a unique piece of property in Manhattan,” Steven says. “I’m going to build basically a landmark in Manhattan.”

He says the 65,000-square-foot club will have indoor pools and tennis courts and a basketball court with a track along with upscale finishes and locker rooms and spacious cardio areas and weight rooms.

“The amenities that the new facility will have are just going to be crazy,” Steven says.

Construction is scheduled to start in July, and the club should open about a year after that.

Steven says he’s “thrilled to be in the market right now.”

“It is a busy, busy town. A lot of growth there right now.”

Steven first branched outside of Wichita with a Hutchinson club in 2004 and has been on an aggressive pace since then, particularly lately. He says part of that is finally getting “the right pieces of the puzzle in place.”

“They’ve just all kind of come to fruition at the same time,” he says. “It’s interesting.”

Steven says Genesis is now in a lot of the major cities across Kansas, though not Kansas City.

“That’s a possibility for the future.”

Otherwise, he says, “We’re not looking to do a lot more growth right now.”

Steven says the fitness business is “a tough animal.”

“It’s definitely a lot of work, and it’s challenging.”

He says he likes it that way.

“It’s provided a lot of growth for our company,” Steven says. “Our product is getting better and better.”

He says the new clubs are an opportunity for his staff.

“It’s been great for them,” he says. “They can help us kind of form our future together.”

Steven says everything has happened quickly lately.

“It’s very rewarding at the same time.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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