The Main Line’s New, $6 Million Fitness Center
After a hefty makeover, the former PSC gym opened Aug. 1. with new equipment, upgraded class spaces and snazzy locker rooms. Will AFC Radnor succeed in the Main Line’s crowded gym scene?
by Melissa Jacobs
These days, Matt Littman is the $6 million man. That’s how much the CEO and president of AFC Fitness invested in the new gym he opened Aug. 1 in Radnor Financial Center. Littman snapped up the former Philadelphia Sports Club after its parent company declared bankruptcy in 2020. “I thought it was a great location that didn’t reach its full potential,” Littman said. “But the space needed a lot of work.”
Wanting a modern gym filled with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and high-end amenities, Littman spent months (and millions) renovating the 42,000-square foot, two-story space. While AFC Radnor has new features like upgraded HVAC systems, new flooring and hydrotherapy recovery beds, the gym’s makeover is more about functional fitness, Littman said. “We thought about how people work out and what they need from each space,” Littman explained. “We customized the design to fit the way our members exercise.”
The redesigned lower level has weight stations and equipment, plus a four-lane, heated indoor pool and posh locker rooms with saunas. Upstairs, AFC Radnor has well-designed pods that accommodate different kinds of work outs. Bike, treadmills and ellipticals are strategically placed, as are turf areas and stations that offer stacks of free weights, tires and other cross fit equipment. Littman’s team expanded the number of classrooms and boosted their lighting and sound technologies. The upper floor also has AFC Café, which offers acai bowls, mini omelet bites, avocado toast, smoothies and La Colombe coffee to members and non-members.
While the makeover is significant, the changes cost time and money. AFC Radnor went $2 million and almost two months over schedule. “I was focused on providing the absolute best fitness center we could create for our members,” Littman said. “When people walk in here, I want them to be wowed and inspired to work out – and to feel like this is their new fitness home.”
But AFC Radnor enters a highly competitive Main Line fitness market stacked with small gyms like Bryn Mawr’s Body X and behemoths like Lifetime in Wayne. Littman isn’t worried. A resident of Bryn Mawr, Littman knows the Main Line audience, and thinks the Radnor location is a desirable bookend to AFC Bala Cynwyd. “Members can use both gyms, which gives them strategic geographical options,” he said.
Indeed, he started talks to acquire the space in June 2020 while COVID crippled the fitness industry. Littman had to lay off 300 employees and spent “an insane amount of money” retrofitting his Feasterville and Bala Cynwyd gyms to adhere to COVID safety protocols. All the while, he was planning AFC Radnor. “I didn’t know how long the pandemic was going to last, but I knew that people would, at some point, return to normalcy, get out of their homes and get back into shape,” he said. “I made a bet on AFC and my team, and we’ve made it happen.”
AFC Radnor will attract members who work in the adjacent office buildings and the surrounding neighborhoods, he said. The $99 monthly membership is a great deal for the area. “We are a locally-owned family business and completely dedicated to our members and to improving the communities that we live and work in,” Littman said. “There’s an audience of people who live and work in Radnor Township but haven’t had a fitness center for more than two years. Now, we’re here and we’re excited to welcome them.”