The Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday awarded a variance to Bryan McIntosh, owner of Dynamic Fitness, 14415 Pearl Rd., to open a fitness center in the vacant furniture store.
Attorney Nick Catanzarite said the 15,000-square-foot facility would offer memberships at "a low monthly rate" for use of exercise equipment and free weights.
It would also offer classes, personal training and tanning, he said.
"Ultimately, the use is a good fit for that building," Catanzarite said.
City zoning code sets a maximum size of 5,000 square feet on fitness centers. The Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-0 to grant a variance of 10,311 square feet to allow Dynamic Fitness to use the Ethan Allen building, which has been vacant for more than a year.
The plan faces more obstacles, though. It must next go before the Planning Commission to seek a conditional use permit to operate in a shopping center district.
Catanzarite said McIntosh plans to leave his current location, behind Taco Bell on Pearl Road, when his lease expires in February. Currently he offers classes and personal training.
The new facility would use "a different business model" and operate as a full-scale gym with memberships for drop-in workouts, Catanzarite said.
In response from questions from the board, he acknowledged it would compete with the Ehrnfelt Recreation Center.
But he said the facility would fill a mid-range void in the market, falling between the large rec center and the small workout businesses that currently exist.
"I think it will give the residents another option," he said.