tl;dr Ultima is moving locations in April, just not leaving downtown.

On Thursday morning last week I woke up to the Palm Beach Post headline that Clematis Street’s favorite gym, Ultima Gym, had decided to “exit Downtown”.

Immediately concerned about the insinuation by the post that one of our longest standing Downtown businesses has abandoned our Downtown, I do about five seconds of research, and realized that Ultima Fitness is not actually exiting downtown.

Because, and this is one of my pet peeves, Downtown West Palm Beach is bigger than just Clematis Street. It’s even bigger than Clematis Street and CityPlace.

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Ultima Gym is not leaving Downtown; they are moving to the medical building at 625 N. Flagler, just half a mile away from their current location.

To illustrate to our readers, and friends at the Palm Beach Post, what the boundaries of the 1.2 square miles of Downtown are I’ve created a handy map.

In this map, the “A” location is the current location of Ultima Fitnness, and the “B” location is the new location. The Yellow area indicates the Downtown as delineated in the Downtown Master Plan, and the Bluish Green area indicates the Downtown Development Authority’s district boundaries. The Purple area is the “Warehouse District”, it’s not in downtown, but I threw it in since everyone is always asking me where it is.

Having said that, any way you cut it, 625 N. Flagler and Ultima Gym is still Downtown.

Ultima Gym partner Ian Curran did a Facebook Live video from the beautiful 4th floor location, overlooking the new bridge and intracoastal waterway. Unfortunately, the video is now off line but the views from the new location are fantastic. This will no doubt be the most luxurious place to work out in Downtown.

6th Street is growing into the new Downtown Hot Spot

The move makes a whole lot of sense for both Ultima Gym and the Downtown in general. 6th Street and the northern edge of Downtown become a hot spot of Downtown activity. The 8-story, 259-unit apartment complex at Loftin Place at 805 N. Olive Ave, just one block east, has become an incredibly popular building, and as of July, was 92% leased in just the first two years. Loftin Place even has their own SkyBike station.

Developer Jonathan Gladstone also saw the opportunity of the north end of Downtown when he opened The Butcher Shop in a renovated seaplane hanger on 6th Street. This trendy restaurant/bar/beer garden expanded from its original location in Wynwood, Miami. In the year since it has been open it has become very busy drawing people into Downtown from the north end as well as Palm Beach right over the bridge.

Downtown WPB is big enough to have something for everyone

So when people come to me and say “rent is too high in Downtown”, my response has always been to ask where they’ve looked. If they just say Clematis Street and CityPlace, which is most of the time, I always encourage them to check out one of the many side streets in the downtown area, which have many great opportunities, existing retail, and plenty of parking.

If we embrace the outer areas of Downtown as viable destinations for businesses, still walkable, but with lower rent, then we’ll see a lot more of the small retail develop in those areas and continue to have our “premier retail” with higher rents on Clematis and CityPlace.

I’d love to see a bigger push in connecting the Warehouse district with the Downtown as well, just a bike ride (or 25-minute walk) away, which offers a complete different feel and even more opportunities for smaller businesses.

Back to Ultima Gym, I’m excited to hear about their move. When they open the amazing new location in April, I’ll look forward to a  half mile warm-up run from my office, then enjoy a post-workout beer at The Butcher Shop.