Residents concerned over the opening of a new gym on White Plains Road seem okay with a city Board of Standards and Appeals decision to approve the two-floor facility.
On Tuesday, June 21, the BSA announced that Planet Fitness Gym would receive a variance to remain open 24-hours-a-day, Monday through Thursday, on the second floor and basement level at a newly constructed building between 2129 and 2139 White Plains Road.
Since plans for the gym were first announced in March, Pelham Parkway residents opposed the White Plais Road fitness facility because it would remain open 24-hours a day most days, and didn’t provide enough customer parking.
“Believe me, I am thrilled that Planet Fitness is coming to Pelham Parkway,” said Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham Parkway South Community Association. “My only real concern is the parking throughout the day. There is limited parking around the shopping district to begin with and of course a business staying open through the night is always a concern.”
In early 2008, the 22,000 square-foot property that was home to 12 businesses burnt to the ground during a five-alarm fire. Over the next two years, property owner Sopher Properties rebuilt, making one large building.
In March, Chase Villafana, managing director of the upcoming Planet Fitness, confirmed that a lease had been signed with Sopher. When word of the potential gym’s plans was made public, area residents became concerned.
At three BSA meetings over the last few months, Community Board 11 members defended their opposition to the new operation. CB 11 member Joe Bombace said that they tried their best, but ultimately, the idea of opening a gym in the area will be great for White Plains Road.
“This is not a loss. It is definitely a gain for the business and residential community,” Bombace said. “We will welcome Planet Fitness to our community with open arms. They never once gave us a problem as we expressed our concern. Everything that we are asking from them, in terms of providing a safe environment, they are doing.”
After several meetings with CB 11, Planet Fitness representatives, as well as Marilyn Sopher, president of Sopher Properties, have assured residents that everything will be done to guarantee safety in and around the gym at all times.
Planet Fitness will be providing a security guard on nights that the gym will remain open for 24 hours, as well as security cameras outside of the facility, according to Blitzer
This Planet Fitness is expected to open by the end of the summer.