Fitness club proposed for old Fortunoff Clearance Center property

A rendering of the three-story fitness complex and A rendering of the three-story fitness complex and parking garage at the former Fortunoff's Clearance Center building, on 750 Zeckendorf Blvd. in Garden City. Photo Credit: Zeckendorf LLC

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A new redevelopment proposal could put a family-geared fitness complex on the site of the former Fortunoff's Clearance Center property in Garden City.

Developer Zeckendorf LLC is finalizing a long-term lease with Life Time Fitness, a Chanhassen, Minn.-based operator of 106 fitness centers in the United States and Canada. Most operate 24 hours a day, including the Life Time Athletic center on Robbins Lane in Syosset.

The project is a joint venture between two real estate developers, the Garden City-based Engel Burman Group and Woodmere-based Basser-Kaufman, which bought the property six months ago. They are asking the Town of Hempstead Board of Appeals for special exceptions to allow the construction of a three-story fitness complex and four-story parking garage, on 750 Zeckendorf Blvd. in Garden City. The 7.68-acre parcel, next door to Lowe's, has been vacant for 10 years after Fortunoff closed its doors.

"This has been a dilapidated eyesore for the area," Steven Krieger, principal of the Engel Burman Group, said at Wednesday's appeals board meeting, pointing out the site's proximity to Roosevelt Field mall and the Meadowbrook State Parkway. "This is a huge improvement for the area."

The plan calls for constructing a 130,000-square-foot building and demolishing the existing 187,000-square-foot structure. It would have 669 parking spaces for, more than the 651 required. If the plan is approved, construction would begin in the spring, with an expected opening date in spring 2015.

"The site would be more open and more spacious," said Jan Burman, president of the Engel Burman Group, declining to disclose the cost of the project.

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The members-only facility would feature weightlifting and cardio equipment, fitness classes, a children's recreation area, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, indoor basketball court, a restaurant, outdoor cafe, and a spa and salon.

"I am very impressed," said retired clerical worker Michael Richman, 67, of Great Neck. A frequent shopper at Roosevelt Field, he noticed the large yellow sign announcing Wednesday's hearing about the plan. "It sounds exciting, better than an abandoned warehouse . . . They did a very good job in Syosset. The building there too is isolated, so that it is not bothering anyone."

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