A Retro Fitness was approved to open at the old location of Rite Aid at 138 South Main Street in Forked River.
The Lacey Planning Board approved the application on Tuesday, Oct. 11 after hearing concerns regarding parking.
A township ordinance requires 100 parking spots but the applicant requested a design waiver for 49 spots.
“We feel that that is more than adequate for the Retro Fitness based on other Retro Fitness Centers around the state of New Jersey,” Attorney Richard Butz said.
Typically Retro Fitness looks to provide four parking spaces per thousand square feet, said Matt Schultz, Vice President of Franchise Operations for Retro Fitness.
“The reason we look for so little parking is because we don’t do group aerobics and that is typically the issue in the gym industry where from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. we have everybody that wants to take a class, 20, 40, 60 people all coming at one time to take a class,” Schultz said.
With a 10,000 square foot building, Shultz does not anticipate seeing more than 40 check-ins at a given hour, he said. Gyms with classes might have over 90 check-ins at one time.
There are 46 Retro Fitness locations in the state, including Toms River, Manahawkin and Brick, Schultz said. The site in Wall is 15,000 square feet with 54 parking spots.
Vittorio Cicco is the owner of Mrs. Walker’s Famous Ice Cream Parlor and the strip mall across the street.
“I don’t mind at all that they’re opening it up…It’s beautiful. My problem is parking,” Cicco said.
Jazzercize used to be open in the area and the customers would take up all of Cicco’s parking, he said.
“So whatever they say, it’s not true,” he said.
Cicco asked the board to control the subscribers or require more parking.
“They’re investing a lot of money into this site,” Mayor Gary Quinn said. “They’re going to make sure it’s a success…Certainly they can’t take your spots. There’s no doubt about that. If that happens, you can call us
This fitness center will have minimal staff and offer personal training. It will feature strength and cardio equipment as well as a Retro Theater. Membership will be $19.99 per month for life.
This Retro Fitness is still under negotiations, owner Robert Madison, Jr. said. If an agreement is met with the current owners, the fitness center will be able to open in less than six months. Otherwise, the applicant is seeking to open in a building to be built behind the Applebee's on South Main Street.