The second-ever District Fit event, a multi-disciplinary wellness festival, took place this past weekend in West Palm Beach at CityPlace and Hilton West Palm Beach. Large groups of people clad in workout attire bounced between the 20 different free fitness classes on offer, from glow yoga to zumba to cardio drumming. But don’t be surprised if you start seeing more wellness inspired programming like this popping up around CityPlace: it’s all part of the plan.
“What we’ve been doing over the last couple years is really thinking through what a reimagination of CityPlace should be,” explains Gopal Rajegowda, Senior Vice President of Related Companies, the large privately owned real estate firm behind CityPlace and various other projects in our area. “We realized that it’s time, in the history of West Palm Beach, to pivot from a lifestyle center—because that’s how it was conceived, initially, 20 years ago—into an exciting urban neighborhood with wellness at the forefront. … So that’s why we’re very excited about District Fit.”
As John Parkinson, General Manager at Hilton West Palm Beach—and the brain behind District Fit—points out, “Trulia came out with a list of the fittest cities in the country and West Palm was ranked number two. It truly is a community where there’s a lot of fit people; it’s a beach community. People here enjoy health and fitness. Obviously we have an amazing climate, [and] we’ve got great places to go for exercise.”
Thus, District Fit was born as a way to connect and inspire the community. The three-day event includes a lineup of free workouts by elite trainers and fitness influencers as well as holistic seminars, nutrition workshops, culinary events, and pop-up retail experiences from big brands like Athleta, Health-Ade Kombucha, Ritual, Zeel, and more.
“The genesis of the idea was to create something that was fun, fresh, local, and put it out there into the community and let this community kind of help us bring this all together,” explains Parkinson. “And I tell you, West Palm Beach and our local area just laid it down. People stepped up big time. … We reached out to our fitness community here in West Palm and everyone just raised their hands and said ‘We’re in,’ which is just so refreshing. Nobody we approached about District Fit said, ‘Nah, not this year.’ Everyone said, ‘We’re in. We’re all in.’ Really refreshing.”
As CityPlace evolves over the next few years into a wellness-focused living environment, events and experiences like District Fit will pave the way. “I think that wellness is really sort of an active process through which people kind of become aware and make choices toward a successful and enriching life,” Rajegowda explains. “At Related, we really think of ourselves as developers that build connected communities that enhance and inspire the way we live, work, and play.”
With wellness a core value of CityPlace’s unfurling transformation, the biannual District Fit event is not the only offering of its kind. Throughout the year, the health-conscious crowd can enjoy weekly Wellness Wednesday fitness classes, relaxing yoga sessions in the blue room at the Culture Lab, and easy access to SkyBike racks throughout the area. But the most exciting features are still to come.
“We’re moving toward really great public spaces where people could stay and spend long periods of time; shade areas including new landscaping; water features; arts and cultural features, including murals and different art components throughout the district… We really want the whole district to be sort of an overarching, enriching wellness experience,” Rajegowda reveals. “The public spaces are getting totally reimagined. We’re about to start a reimagination of Rosemary Avenue from Okeechobee to Hibiscus, and then next summer, we’re going to come around and redo the Plaza. We’ve got some really exciting experiences for the public there. I like to say we’re moving from CityPlace to ‘a place in the city,’ in thinking more urban.”
District Fit and the Reimagination of CityPlace