GOLD’S GYM – 731 North Water Street
Industry— Retail / Commercial
Building Use—Fitness Center, Mixed Use
Size—40,000 square feet
Design-Builder—Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.
Architect— Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.
In 2010, CCC began designing and rebuilding a nearly 20-year-vacant office building in Milwaukee’s downtown renovating it into today’s 40,000 square-foot Gold’s Gym, which officially opened in March of 2011. The transformed office building now includes five stories of specialty fitness areas that overlook Milwaukee’s downtown riverfront, including child care center, cardio theatre, VIP locker rooms, ladies-only fitness floor, dedicated spinning room, and yoga studio. The high rise also boasts a basketball court, a three-lane, 70-foot saltwater lap pool suspended three stories above ground level, and drive-in valet parking garage – all made possible with extensive re-engineering and design. In addition to the five-story interior transformations, CCC mindfully created a new façade for the building that would complement the architectural character of its surroundings.
The project’s construction represents just one part of CCC’s overall role and commitment to the Milwaukee development. In addition to the design and construction, CCC worked on behalf of the building’s owner, Compass Properties LLC of Milwaukee, to seek out the Gold’s Gym franchise owners and bring them to the potential project table.
Gold’s Gym chose to “Consolidate it” with one call.
While touring downtown Milwaukee for potential project sites, Consolidated’s business development team was introduced to the 731 Water Street building, which had stood vacant for over 20 years. The team recognized that its prime location and demographic requirements made it an ideal candidate for adaptive reuse – and revitalization funding. With the right tenant mix and renovation, the property value could skyrocket, benefitting the downtown, the property owner, and the tenant. Consolidated brought a previous client, Gold’s Gym, to the site and facilitated the feasibility study and tenant agreement. While Compass Properties preferred to manage the public-sector funding, Consolidated supported the complicated public funding process with architectural renderings, cost summaries, marketing materials, and representation at city meetings.
The task of renovating the long-vacant 731 building was daunting. Although Consolidated had plenty of experience with Gold’s Gym, no project would match the scope and intricacies of the downtown Milwaukee location. In this mid-20th century building, asbestos was plentiful, parking was not. It was flanked by Wisconsin’s second tallest building and one of Wisconsin’s oldest buildings, yet 731 itself was an unremarkable appendage. It would need both cosmetic upgrades and serious structural and mechanical modifications to meet our standards today. In order to compensate for structural differences between the three buildings, 731 was “tied” to the others with massive bolts in 14 separate places. The third story saltwater pool is suspended structurally so that it is possible to literally walk under the pool on the second floor. The building front now features a drive-in valet area with an open ceiling to the second floor gym reception area. High end finishes are the norm both inside and out. Sustainable, green features were incorporated. Now, what was once the forgotten, empty annex to a historical gem is a hub of downtown activity.
Reconstructing a five story building with only an 8’ x 60’ sidewalk to the east and a river to the west poses some interesting logistical challenges. Over 500 granite panels weighing 900lbs each were to be removed from the building façade. A transformer located just beneath the sidewalk in front of the building powered several city blocks, yet had to be reinforced to accommodate the traffic that would drive over the sidewalk to enter the valet area. City officials would allow cranes to operate from 9pm – 3am only, keeping busy Water Street clear for traffic. Laborers worked nearly around the clock to compensate for restrictions and speed construction. Only one working elevator meant any construction materials needed higher than the fifth floor would need to be transported manually. A 5-ton generator was lowered through an opening in the floor in order to reach the basement. And yet, this highly organized logistical puzzle was put together within budget and with zero injuries or safety issues.
Thanks to the entrance of Gold’s Gym to this once neglected property, it is now part of the revitalized and rebranded “City Center.” Vacancies in adjoining buildings are down and activity is up as thousands of downtown workers visit Gold’s on their lunch hours and before and after work. So important to the city’s landscape was the renovation, and so impressive the design that the project has already received the Mayor’s Design Award from the City of Milwaukee.
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