Case Studies

FCA Construction LLC

Building a Foundation for Health and Wellness

Life Time Fitness goes by the “The Healthy Way of Life Company,” and it has earned this designation delivering the certified professionals, comprehensive services and destinations that help people change their lives positively every day.  The company’s healthy way of life approach enables its customers to achieve their health and fitness goals by engaging in their areas of interest – or discovering new passions – both inside and outside of Life Time’s distinctive and large sports, professional fitness, family recreation and spa destinations.

Based out of Chanhassen, Minn., the company has locations across 21 states and recently expanded into Canada. Through its wholly-owned construction subsidiary, FCA Construction Company LLC (FCA Construction), Life Time has approximately 80 employees dedicated solely to the design-build of each new center and the remodel of existing and acquired centers, including construction management, architecture and design services and millwork fabrication.

“By operating as a part of Life Time, FCA Construction is able to maximize flexibility in the design process, retain control over the cost and timing of the construction process, and realize potential cost savings on each project,” explains Mark Strelnieks, vice president of FCA Construction. “Because FCA Construction performs services solely for Life Time, nearly all of our costs are capitalized as a part of the overall initial investment in the new center or the remodel.”

In addition to traditional health club programs, Life Time offers member a selection of high-end amenities and services. “Our basic two-story prototype is roughly 112,000 square feet with six pools, an interior café and an outdoor bistro, a salon and spa, locker rooms, a childcare center, two large gyms, a kids gym and a large rock climbing wall that spans the height of the building,” explains Strelnieks.

Life Time’s centers have evolved since the company’s first destination was establish in 1992, and will continue to evolve. All centers are centrally located in areas that offer convenient access from residential, business and shopping districts of the surrounding community, and generally provide free and ample parking. As every location is adapted for its target market, FCA works exclusively for Life Time, which allows the team an unusually comprehensive grasp on quality control and the ability to establish and maintain a roster of subcontractors able to provide materials and labor expediently at a competitive price.

Only the Best, Preferably Local

The FCA team is proudly committed to finding the best local talent and consults its network of industry contacts to find out which companies have consistently performed a cut above. However, FCA isn’t just looking for a team to get the job done for the cheapest price. Rather, strong candidates should be able to work with FCA during preconstruction, planning and managing the project’s schedule, and developing a partnership before breaking ground.

“People who do good work tend to surround themselves with like-minded people, so to develop long-term relationships we look for companies that understand and share our values,” asserts Strelnieks. On every project FCA gauges its success in terms of quality, schedule, cost, safety and a combination of leadership, teamwork and communication on site. Strelnieks believes that those core principles, though not an infallible measure of success, are the best indicators for gauging a subcontractor’s suitability.

Simultaneously, FCA looks to find companies that best embody its parent company’s mission to promote a healthy way of life and have a positive impact on its members, neighbors and environment. FCA strives to buy locally whenever possible and recently switched from an overseas tile manufacturer to an American manufacturer offering a more durable product, with more favorable payment terms and better pricing. “We see the use of local talent as critical to our support of the local community and to our future ability to growth in new markets,” explains Strelnieks.

Healthy Building Through Quality and Details

Life Time centers built by FCA Construction combine modern architecture and décor with state-of-the-art amenities to create a friendly and inviting, functional and innovative sports and athletic, professional fitness, family recreation and spa destination for the entire family. The majority of the company’s current model centers and most of its large-format centers are freestanding buildings designed with open architecture and naturally illuminated atriums that create a spacious, inviting atmosphere.

From the wood and tile floors, natural wood lockers and granite countertops to inviting child centers, each room is carefully designed to create an appealing and luxurious environment that attracts and retains members and encourages them to visit the center. “Our commitment to quality and detail provides a similar look and feel at each of our large format centers,” adds Strelnieks. By using similar materials at each center, FCA Construction not only maintains a consistent “look and feel,” but also is able to maximize buying power and leverage economies of scale in purchasing.

Even in October 2008 – when Life Time announced the decision to reduce the number of planned new center openings as a result of economic factors, including the challenging capital markets upon which Life Time relies to fund the construction of new centers – the architecture division was able to realign its staffing levels to suit revised growth plans. As a result, FCA Construction is now on track to grow once again, as Life Time plans to open three new centers and remodel nine locations acquired from Florida-based company Lifestyle Family Fitness.

In the next few years FCA Construction will stick to its principles and add qualified talent as it expands activity into new markets. Continually monitoring, evaluating and measurably improving the impact associated with all operations, FCA Construction LLC is poised to assist Life Time Fitness in delivering its promise of friendly, inviting wellness centers through growth.

Published on: July 11, 2013


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