This past week the Larchmont Chronicle tweeted that Flywheel Sports, the indoor cycling workout that promises “a chance to achieve something more,” would be coming to the former Blockbuster space on Larchmont Boulevard. The Buzz was able to confirm that Flywheel is indeed interested in leasing the space, but it turns out that gyms are prohibited by the zoning code that governs Larchmont Boulevard.
An architect representing Flywheel, the prospective tenant, met with Renee Weizter, Councilman Tom La Bonge’s planning deputy, last week. According to Weitzer, she informed the architect that current city codes do not permit a gym to operate on Larchmont. However, she suggested the architect meet with members of the Larchmont Boulevard Association (LBA) to determine the level of support should Flywheel wish to apply for a a variance to current zoning.
Architect and zoning expert John Kaliski, Urban Studio, who serves on the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee, reviewed the code and confirmed that Weizter is correct. The current codes do not permit a gym so it makes sense to take the temperature of the community if a business is thinking of applying for a variance to operate where there isn’t currently by-right use. Kaliski estimated that it could take 12-18 months to complete the application process and anywhere from $20,000-$40,000 for plans, fees, etc. So it was not surprising that landlord Bruce Meyer of Meyer Pacific could not confirm that Flywheel would be taking the space when we caught up with him last week.
The potential occupancy of Flywheel raises the inevitable question – what does the community want to see on Larchmont Boulevard? And what is the best way to create a transparent, open process that incorporates the views of the owners of the buildings, the current businesses on the street and the near-by neighbors who support the street?
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Many of us have been around long enough to recall when there wasn’t an empty storefront along the ‘mont. And such a great variety of stores too but so many of them eventually closed up shop. As for zoning it is puzzling about the blvd., for instance the Bungalow seems to be doing just fine despite its zoning issues. And who knows who will win the zoning battle there.
For the record — the Bungalow lost its civil case against the city and is now awaiting a criminal trial that’s set for the end of April.
I would love to see a small grocery store – someplace we could pick up fixings for dinner on the fly. Buy milk or juice when we are strolling through the village. Get farmer’s market greens and fruits. To me that would be dreamy. That, or I’d like our hardware store back.
I would LOVE to see an exercise studio on Larchmont. I live a few blocks away and all that keeps opening is dessert stores! It’s ridiculous.