My sister trains in a warehouse gym which has just expanded by moving into a bigger premises in a better location.
Their cardio section pretty much consists of a car park and a prowler. They also have a couple of sleds, a tractor tyre and a sledge hammer.
Their business model is pretty much to scare off people that just want a cardio section. Part of their introduction is,
"Unlike bigger commercial gyms, we’re not interested in decorating our walls
with the latest plasma screens"
"our facility is geared up for for providing excellence in strength
and conditioning, not superficial comforts or unnecessary distractions."
De Francos is a big influence for them.
In this respect, buying a few treadmills, X-trainers or bikes is simply a waste of money. They're among the most expensive equipment you can buy but, at the same time, among the least beneficial or certainly the least versatile. So, yes, not having one could be seen as losing loads of business but, having them will cost a lot of money, take up valuable space, and gather lots of dust, because the majority of people who train almost exclusively in the cardio section of a commercial gym will simply not be interested in a warehouse style gym, hamster wheels or not. Also bear in mind that warehouse style gyms will generally require a more expensive membership and again, hamster wheel fanatics will see the hiked price, lack of sauna, and gasp in shock, not having a clue about the true value of actually getting results and thriving on the training (not the facilities).
Commercial gyms provide an often cheaper and more luxurious option for cardio bunnies. Also, commercial gyms are paid for, to a large extent, by members who don't go. Actually, a large part of their income are the January mob who take a 12 month contract, last 4 weeks (but still have to see out the contract), never to be seen again. If every member in a commercial gym actually went then there wouldn't be enough space. Warehouse gyms, on the other hand, will generally see the paying members a few times per week. They build a team community, generally. It would be like an EXRX gym, and just look at the rants about commercial gyms. If, in this fictional exrx gym, we had a big cardio section, how much would it actually get used? And how much would it eventually be grudged when we realised we could fit a couple more squat racks in that space?
You need to cater for the market you actually target but, at the same time, don't cater for the people who aren't going to buy into the gym. Even having all the hamster wheels there, these "types" will come in, take one look at some PL squatting 600lbs with chains, and swiftly leave again.
Just my opinion - from someone who works in a commercial gym, and dreams of opening his own warehouse gym, i've also known the owners of the gym I mentioned above for a few years now, and seeing them expand is reassuring. They grew despite a horrible economy as well as location (the gym is in, lets just say, not a very nice part of Glasgow).
Halfbreed if you haven't already you should look up Alwyn Cosgrove, he has loads of info on opening and running a gym. Also, Strengthcoach (Mike Boyles site), which is a paid site, has a business section with people regularly opening their own facilities and seeking the advice from those who have been running successful gyms for years (Cosgrove is a regular contributor, too, as well as Mike, obviously).
In fact, check out Strengthcoachtv - http://www.youtube.com/user/StrengthCoachTV
Basically takes you round private facilities interviewing the owners, discussing equipment, logistics, etc.