Life Time Fitness Inc. has sold the real estate assets of 29 of its 114 fitness centers for $900 million, raising funds to help pay for the founder-led buyout that took the company private again.
The deals include two of its facilities in the Twin Cities, one in St. Louis Park and another in Eden Prairie. The company obtained long-term leases from the new owners of all 29 buildings and has continued to operate them normally.
Some of the transactions happened on June 10, the day Life Time closed the $4 billion buyout led by founder and Chief Executive Bahram Akradi and three investment firms: Leonard Green & Partners, TPG and LNK Partners. The company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange that day.
In a filing with federal securities regulators, Life Time said it will use proceeds from the real estate transactions to fund a portion of the buyout, repay previous debt and pay fees and expenses associated with the transaction. Life Time also said it expected to raise nearly $2 billion in new loans and credit.
According to Hennepin County records, Life Time sold its club at Hwy. 62 and Interstate 494 in Eden Prairie for $23.2 million to Gramercy Property Trust, a New York real estate investment trust in a package with nine of its other fitness centers. Gramercy Property Trust paid $300.5 million in all for the clubs that, combined, have 1.3 million square feet of space.
The real estate assets of the other 19 properties were sold to two undisclosed buyers. However, Hennepin County records show that the St. Louis Park club was sold for $38.7 million to Terraza 17 LLC, based in San Diego.
The transactions are a version of what some Life Time shareholders had pressed Akradi to do as a way of achieving more value.
Under that pressure, Life Time last August announced that it would explore an option that would have split Life Time into two companies: an operating company that would run the company’s 114 fitness centers and a property company that would own the company’s real estate assets.
By March, Life Time had expanded its review of strategic alternatives to increase shareholder value that eventually included being taken private by three private equity groups. On March 15, they agreed to a deal with the three private equity groups that also included a $125 million rollover commitment from Akradi, assuring that the founder would continue to run the company.
The buyout closed much faster than the third-quarter target set out by Life Time when it was announced.