Developer, COO say NextSite did nothing to deserve $15,000 success fee to recruit Planet Fitness to Quincy

Planet Fitness storefront

Planet Fitness recently opened at 3001 Broadway in the former County Market building. | David Adam

QUINCY — A resolution on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting of the Quincy City Council asks for aldermen to approve a $15,000 success fee to NextSite, LLC, for the recruitment of Planet Fitness to Quincy.

However, the developer of the property and a Planet Fitness representative both say NextSite was not involved in bringing the fitness center here.

“Never heard of NextSite. Never dealt with NextSite,” said Mike Hamilton, chief operating officer and founding partner of Planet Fitness Midwest. 

“NextSite apparently is taking credit for bringing Verizon Wireless and Planet Fitness to Quincy, and they had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with either of those two tenants coming to Quincy,” said Tom Marx, owner of Marx Commercial Properties and Development Company.

“I’m sure they have probably billed the city of Quincy for their services, which I’m hoping that (the city doesn’t) pay. We had talked to NextSite, but over the course of the last six months, just as introductory conversations. Those two tenants never came up as far as any support from them putting a deal together. That was all done by me, and it had been in the works for over a year on both tenants.”

Planet Fitness recently opened at 3001 Broadway in the former County Market building. Marx Commercial Properties also built 6,000 square feet of retail space for three businesses on the northeast corner of 30th and Broadway. Verizon Wireless moved in earlier this year, and Pancheros Mexican Grill is expected to open in that building after Christmas.

The Quincy City Council voted Oct. 30 to award a three-year, $140,000 contract to Retail Strategies out of Birmingham, Ala., to be a retail recruitment consultant, with Mayor Mike Troup casting the tie-breaking vote. Retail Strategies is replacing NextSite, which has handled retail recruitment for the city since 2021. NextSite’s contract will end in January.

Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning and development, told aldermen on Oct. 30 the city paid NextSite $15,000 per year during its three-year contract, plus “success fees” for businesses successfully recruited to the city. Bevelheimer also said communication between the city and NextSite has been a concern.

“I just don’t like companies taking credit for something where no credit is deserved,” Marx said.

The contract with next site was in place before Troup was elected mayor. He says the contract is not as well defined as he would have expected. 

“My understanding over the last few years of how this works is there is no requirement that NextSite has to introduce a retailer to a Quincy developer or a Quincy property owner,” Troup said. “What NextSite does is go to retail trade shows, and they have relationships with a variety of retailers. In the case of Planet Fitness, they traded business cards (with NextSite) to say, ‘Gee, you ought to look at Quincy,’ and then NextSite would send a package document to these retailers describing the specifics of Quincy.”

Troup says the city has had more conversations with NextSite in the past 45 days that it has in the past six months. He said the company is no longer marketing Quincy.

“Their contract is vague enough that anybody they did talk to and ends up coming to Quincy, we would, under the broad definition of the contract, be responsible for paying some success fees to them,” Troup said. “There was a relationship. Was NextSite’s involvement the sole factor that brought these retailers to the Quincy market. I think it’s fair to say that answer is no.”

Troup and Bevelheimer told aldermen that GMX Real Estate Group, a real estate investment and development company based in Northbrook, played a much larger role in the city’s acquisition of Target — but the city still paid a $30,000 success fee to NextSite.

Construction of a 24,000 square foot building in the Prairie Trails Shopping Center at the corner of 63rd and Broadway is near completion. Marx says he has secured three tenants for the building, and he’s working on a fourth, but he’s not ready to say what tenants are moving in. He believes the first tenant’s business will be operational by April or May.

A ground breaking for another building in Prairie Trails isn’t expected until the spring. 

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