If all goes well at the level, there will be a drastic new look to Webster Square Road soon.
At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week, a new tenant was approved to move into . New England Mercantile, a company that manages car fleets, will move into the current location of Powerhouse Gym.
The gym will move across the street into a new retail center to be built by Coccomo Brothers. The approved the retail center last week and Thomas Coccomo appeared before the P&Z to present final plans. He and Powerhouse co-owner Jack Banks were given some homework to bring back to Town Planner Hellyn Riggins and the Committee.
The plans are 90 percent complete and are down to such details as the type of siding to be installed a curb cut to accommodate a drive-through window. The building will be 28,000 square feet with the gym occupying about 18,000 square feet. Coccomo had a restaurant for a tenant when he first bought the property but is currently looking for another tenant, hopefully a restaurant because there is room for outside dining on his plan.
"We bought the property in 2005 but it has sat idle since then," Tom Coccomo said. "We spoke to Jack and they have always talked to us about buying or renting. They have stuck with us and things are finally coming together. We still have to get some things approved with the town but it looks good. Jack got a good tenant for the gym property so the timing is good. If my brothers and I were going to bet on anybody it would be Powerhouse because it is owner-operated and they have put their heart, sweat and tears from their building in New Britain to where they are now. Now it's on to a new phase of the gym."
Banks said the drive through window is a new thing and possibly will be the only one in the state.
"We are going to sell healthy shakes and food products from the window," Banks said. "It's a new age in fitness and we have to try to re-invent ourselves and upgrade. They say 60 percent or more of the products sold at Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are through the drive through.
"We need the upgrade for a lot of reasons. The state of the building and the size of the lockers rooms made it impossible for us to renovate and stay there. It's a good location. We've been looking to do something for the last six years, so we're overdue. We hope to be able to buy the building from Tommy soon after we get in there."
Banks said the new location will also have new machines.
"We will have a full audiovisual cardio station," said Banks, who owns Powerhouse with Paul Carson. "Each machine will have an IPod dock. You can watch a Netflix movie. There will be 68 channels on the TVs. It's crazy how technology has changed the fitness business. We will still have group rooms and specialty training. We will have all the latest bells and whistles but we will still have the family feel because we are keeping our staff and group classes."
The far end of Webster Square Road could also get a facelift as early as July. According to a report, Executive Auto Group has bought the space where the Berlin Acura dealership now sits. The same report also said there is a possibility that Executive will bring all of its car lines to the location and possibly take over some of the former Food Mart Plaza.