Westwood sees ’boutique’ accommodation and fitness move to former health club



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WESTWOOD – A mixed-use development that would add housing and possibly a personal training center near downtown is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The project, developed by Jefferson Realty Group LLC, will add two floors to an existing stock of 19,000two story square foot building on Jefferson Avenue that once housed the New York Sports Club.

The gymnasium closed last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to file for bankruptcy, district officials said. It could reopen as a boutique-oriented operation for small groups, Mayor Raymond Arroyo said.

Arroyo said the 28 apartments built above will have a “symbiotic relationship” with neighboring businesses.

“There is a demand for housing, and it is located at the center of our downtown goods and services,” he said.

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The steel and framing of the upper floors are in place and Jefferson Realty plans to complete the project by the end of the year, said Arroyo.

The first floor of the building can be occupied by a health or fitness club or an office. Any fitness center likely wouldn’t use a membership model like the New York Sports Club and instead offer personal and small-group classes, according to the zoning council resolution approving the project last August.

“With COVID, the big gyms have closed,” Arroyo said. “The trend in this industry is now more towards smaller projects and more focused on personal training.”

While the building will double in height, Westwood already includes taller buildings in the central business district without a problem, the zoning board noted, including the Bank of America building.

The top three floors will house apartments, five of which will be affordable housing, as required by the borough’s settlement agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center. There would be 20 one-bedroom units, two studio units, and one two-bedroom unit. The five affordable units will include a, two and three bedroom units.

During the hearings, the zoning council said it had “no difficulty in finding that the site will provide sufficient parking,” since there are 105 spaces. A parking study included both the former New York Sports Club building and a second building on the site, which houses the Lakeland Bank and the Huntington Learning Center.

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Jefferson Realty testified last year that for both buildings there would be 95 spaces used during peak hours if the first floor resumed operations as a health club and 72 spaces if converted to offices.

The parking demand would be lower than that of the existing health club, according to the resolution.

The project will create an appropriate transition between commercial uses in the downtown area to the north of the property and residential uses to the south, according to the council resolution.

Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

E-mail: noda@northjersey.com

Twitter: @ snoda11



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