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Fitness center proposed for Pawcatuck Shopping Plaza

STONINGTON — A proposal to put a new fitness facility into the former Stop & Shop building on Route 1 in Pawcatuck will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday. The meeting will take place at Mystic Middle School, 204 Mistuxet Ave., at 7 p.m.

William Kane, founder and CEO of Fitness and Nutrition Inc., has applied to open Renegade Fitness Center in the empty anchor building of Pawcatuck Shopping Plaza. Kane is the owner of Renegade Sports Center and Velocity Sports Performance, both in Waterford, as well as Work Out World franchises in Groton, Waterford, Norwich and New London.

Preliminary plans for Renegade Fitness Center include several workout areas for spinning, group fitness classes, free weights, an abs circuit, and a women-only area. There are also plans for tanning, sauna and massage areas, locker rooms and showers for men and women, and a juice bar that will also sell snacks and sandwiches.

Proposed hours for the center are 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the application anticipates three to seven employees per shift.

Kane was out of the state Thursday, attending a fitness-industry trade show, and was unavailable for comment.

There is no public hearing scheduled for Kane’s application, but he needs commission approval for the change in use from retail to personal services in order to proceed with the project.

The Stop & Shop building has been vacant for the past five years, ever since the Netherlands-based grocery giant opened a Super Stop & Shop 2½ miles away in Pawcatuck Farms, between Liberty Street and Voluntown Road. After Stop & Shop abandoned the building on Route 1, the store maintained its lease, and even exercised its option to renew the lease for another five years at one point.

Residents on social media clamored for another grocery store, often mentioning Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but First Selectman Edward Haberek Jr. said Stop & Shop wouldn’t allow another grocery store to sublet the lease. Other businesses in the shopping plaza also reported less customer traffic without an anchor store.

In 2010, after the building remained vacant for a year, Haberek referred to the lease as “predatory.”

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