Instructor Janet Fitzgerald leads a class at SoulCycle in New York. Arm weights are a part of the class. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times / April 15, 2014)

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SoulCycle, a trendy brand of spinning that enthusiasts claim as life-changing, may be coming soon to Newport Beach — its first Orange County location.

The lease has not been finalized, but the city granted a minor use permit Thursday to clear the way for the spin studio's move to Fashion Island.

"The application was submitted with the intent that they would be coming if they were approved," said Brenda Wisneski, the city's deputy community development director.

Based in New York, SoulCycle was founded in 2006 and now boasts 26 locations, including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Brentwood. A Malibu location is opening Friday.

The Newport location is slated to open late this year, said spokeswoman Gabby Cohen.

The company plans to double in size by 2015.

"For us, there's no location better than Fashion Island," Cohen said. "You can spend a day there, and fitness should be part of that."

At $30 per session in Southern California — typically 45 minutes long — the fitness classes have become an exercise fad for those seeking what the company bills as a joyful, community-based experience.

The studios are dark. The music is loud. Side-by-side, the riders churn their legs and bend their arms as instructors give directions and encouragement.

"SoulCycle doesn't just change bodies, it changes lives," the website reads. "With inspirational instructors, candlelight, epic spaces and rocking music, riders can let loose, clear their heads and empower themselves with strength that lasts beyond the studio walls."

According to the permit application, SoulCycle is planned for a 3,363 square-foot suite between Nordstrom and Macy's. The space was previously used by hair salon Toni and Guy.

The project would include an indoor cycling facility for classes of up to 58 people, with as many as 12 classes offered daily between 5:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. A locker room and retail sales area would also be built — though the appropriate building permits still need to be attained.

The Irvine Co., which manages Fashion Island, declined to comment because the lease has not been signed.