The public hearing for a proposed Cardio Express fitness center in the East Brook Mall was continued for a second time Monday [Feb. 1] after planning and zoning members met with applicants and mall officials.
According to Commission Chair Rudy Favretti, the hearing was continued to allow more time for abutting property owners to voice concern or support about the proposed fitness center.
Favretti said notices to abutting landowners were sent late and therefore, they may not have been aware of their opportunity to address the commission on Monday.
No members of the public attended the last two public hearings.
The hearing will re-open Feb. 16 at the commission’s next meeting. It will be the last chance for residents to speak about the proposal.
Commission members accepted the special permit application Dec. 22 at their regular meeting.
According to the application, the fitness center would fill the space left vacant by The Hoot – which has relocated across Route 195 next to Staples.
“The existing 9,880-square-foot tenant space, formerly The Hoot, will be converted to a Cardio Express fitness club,” reads the application.
If approved for construction, the fitness club will have strength and cardio equipment, locker rooms, restrooms with showers, tanning rooms and stretching areas.
The application – which includes information from Hartford-based architectural firm Archimage Group – indicates any construction or changes to the space would be entirely within the square footage available.
The facility would be open continuously from 5 a.m. Monday to 9 p.m. Friday.
It would also be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
At peak hours of the club, 40 parking spaces would be needed to maintain operations, but that is “negligible when compared to the amount of parking provided,” the application states.
Additionally, it is estimated sewer usage would be approximately 2,862 gallons a day, which is also minimal compared to the sewer capacity at the mall, states the application.
A plan attached to the application shows there would be a front desk and sitting area to the immediate left of the club’s front entrance.
Three separate workout areas – including the strength area, free-weight area and cardio deck – will take up nearly half of the available unit.
In addition to plans, the application included weekly tallies illustrating how many people visited the Tolland club during three different one-week periods.
If the East Brook Mall location receives comparable numbers, there could be between 4,000 and 6,000 gym visitors every week.
East Brook Mall Manager John Fortier said there is no timeline regarding when the fitness center will open, but he is confident the application will eventually be approved.
According to Fortier, the application is simply to change the use of the space from a retail space to a non-retail center.
In addition to filling an empty storefront in the mall, Fortier said he is looking forward to 24-hour security in the mall where the center will be constructed.
Right now, the mall has cameras and a security system in-place for non-business hours, but if the center is open, there would be security guards in the mall all the time.
“It’s almost a benefit to us to have security there 24 hours a day,” he said, adding he “looks forward” to having the center in the mall.
Posted Feb. 2, 2010