EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - A 7-acre stretch of land containing small homes and trees will be turned into a gymnastics facility and commercial building soon.
Gallagher Brothers LLC, a Margate real estate developer, recently received approval from the township Planning Board to construct a 30,000-square-foot building at 3330 Bargaintown Road. About a third of the building will be the new home of the Bright Stars Gymnastics Academy, while the rest will be used by another business yet to be determined.
"I just think that stretch of road needed to be redeveloped from residential use to commercial, professional space," said T. Gallagher, the managing member of Gallagher Brothers.
The groundbreaking should start by the end of the year and the project should be completed by spring, officials said.
Bonnie Pettit, the owner and head coach of Bright Starts Gymnastics Academy in Linwood, said she was excited about relocating her business to Egg Harbor Township.
The gymnastics company has 300 students, eight instructors and uses the lower level of Central United Methodist Church on Central Avenue. Pettit said the current space of about 2,700 square feet can be "a little too cozy."
The new building, which would be 9,200 square feet, will let her expand the business to 700 students and update her training equipment. The academy plans to install an in-ground pit with sponge blocks, four sets of gymnastics bars, six high beams and trampolines, Pettit said. Other features will include a separate dance studio for new yoga and karate classes and several training stations for competitive gymnastics teams.
"It's so exciting, and it really opens up a lot more doors for my gymnasts because the facility will be a state-of-the-art facility designed by a gym designer with all the bells and whistles," Pettit said. "It's going to be the best of the best."
Planning Board Chairman James Garth said the project received unanimous approval by the board last month with some standard additional requirements, such as planting additional trees to make up for trees torn down during the construction.
Vice Chairman Joseph Lisa said his only concern was if there was enough parking for the site.
"If the technical review committee believes it's sufficient, I'll go for it," he said.
In addition to the new building, the project will include 130 parking spaces and a stormwater basin.
While the tenant for the other part of building is still unclear, Gallagher said it could be used by another recreational company, a retail store or as office space. He is not considering leasing the building to a restaurant.
Gallagher noted that that section of Bargaintown Road would be ideal for new businesses, given its proximity to the Garden State Parkway and other commercial developments on Fire Road.
While Gallagher declined to say how much the construction project would cost, he estimated the new building might bring $50,000 to $60,000 per year in taxes to the township. He also said the company owns another three acres on Bargaintown Road, which it hopes to turn into a 19,000-square-foot office building.
Gallagher said the company will help the township expand its commercial tax base and not burden the school district with more students.
"For the township to get rid of some residential property to commercial is definitely what Egg Harbor Township needs more of," he said.