Planet Fitness Gym is coming to the East Gun Hill Road shopping center, and area residents are happy.
The shopping center, located at 1700-1800 E. Gun Hill Road has been a concern ever since the abrupt closure of a Circuit City in December 2009, just months after it opened. Now occupancy at the shopping center is on an upswing, with the opening of a new Aldi Supermarket planned for the fall.
Joining Aldi will be Planet Fitness Gym, as Community Board 11 voted overwhelmingly to support the plan for a gym on Thursday, June 23 that will take up roughly half of the old Circuit City retail space.
“When the golf center closed across the street and the mall became more abandoned, there was illegal dumping and tractor trailer trucks parked at night,” said board member Joe McManus. “This was attracting a bad element.” McManus believes that with construction now underway on the supermarket, many of the other stores in the center and the surrounding area should see a boost in traffic.
“This is our neighborhood and we want to make that shopping center viable because small businesses are such a very important part of this community.” McManus stated.
Vinny Prezioso, the president of the North East Bronx Community Association, negotiated with Planet Fitness to have the gym operate 24-hours-a-day Monday through Thursday, closing in the evening every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“We have come to an agreement on a lot of things, and we will see what happens when this comes to pass,” Prezioso said.
The addition of the Planet Fitness to the mall was part of an effort of the North East Bronx Community Association to match potential tenants to vacant commercial properties on East Gun Hill and Eastchester roads, Prezioso said.Planet Fitness has also agreed to provide cameras and security in the parking lot on late nights, he stated.
“We were always planning on having security at the E. Gun Hill Road location, because it decreases our liability, our insurance, and is a necessary thing,” said Planet Fitness representative Chase Villafana. “We plan on opening in the later part of the fall.”
As far as what residents could expect, Villafana said the mission and the operation of this Planet Fitness location is the same as the others, to make the ability to have a great workout available to as wide a range of people as possible.