The Examiner

SoulCycle Proposes Move Into Armonk Nursery and Greenhouse

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A popular boutique indoor cycling chain has proposed to move into the space of an existing business in downtown Armonk but a zoning text amendment and special use permit will be required to accommodate the request.

The rapidly growing SoulCycle has proposed a 56-bike studio with a locker room, changing room, showers and bathrooms and a small shop to sell apparel in a roughly 3,400-square-foot portion of Mariani Gardens, a Bedford Road nursery and greenhouse.

“We think SoulCycle will be a great contributor not only for the town but the Mariani site,” said attorney P. Daniel Hollis, who is representing the applicant. “There’s tremendous excitement by virtue of the fact that word’s gotten out we’re trying to have this amendment passed.”

SoulCycle, which caters to an upscale clientele in 15 locations in New York, including New Rochelle and Scarsdale, as well as Greenwich, Conn., would need a zoning amendment to allow for recreational uses in the Nursery Business (NB) zone. It must also obtain a special use permit for the specific types of activities it is seeking.

Hollis said that while SoulCycle is a highly successful operation, Mariani Gardens is also looking to include other activities offered by recreational proprietors such as Pilates, yoga and small-group fitness instruction and its ancillary uses to protect itself should the cycling company leave or go out of business.

Classes are 45 minutes long and are typically offered from 6 a.m. until about 7 p.m., said Paul Fusco, senior manager of entitlements at SoulCycle. The classes at most sites are offered in the morning and resume in late afternoon as people leave work, he said. There is usually about 15 minutes between the end of one class and the start of the following session, although that gap can be elongated if there are concerns about congestion or other difficulties, Fusco added.

Chief concerns raised by the North Castle Town Board at its Oct. 13 work session were potential noise generated by the operation and making sure there is ample on-site parking to avoid disturbing the community or inundating downtown Armonk with more vehicles. In addition to the noise of up to 56 cycles in use at once, sessions often feature loud music.

Rob Aiello, a project engineer and planner at John Meyer Consulting that is representing SoulCycle, said the company builds an acoustically sealed room for its classes to prevent noise from escaping. SoulCycle frequently rents in venues where it shares space with other uses, so it is sensitive to the noise issue, he said.

Under North Castle’s zoning, there would be 168 parking spaces needed to meet the requirement for all uses at the Mariani Gardens site once SoulCycle moves in, Aiello said. In addition to the nursery and greenhouse and offices, there is a market selling various women’s lifestyle items and a wine bar and café that is currently not operational. There are now 129 spaces on the grounds.

Aiello said the proposal is to place 21 spaces toward the front of the lot into a land bank. Along with another 18 spaces that have already been land banked in the back of the lot, the required spaces could be built in the future if the town or owner conclude that more parking is needed.

Officials said they don’t want to negatively impact other operations with inadequate parking. Hollis responded that SoulCycle has the same concern because it doesn’t want to risk frustrating patrons who might not return if the parking situation is poor.

Fusco, who said SoulCycle hopes to move into the space sometime next year, said working with the community is a company priority.

“Our whole mantra at SoulCycle is we prefer this location because we want to be part of the community,” Fusco said. “We think this is good, obviously, for business, but it’s good for a community to structure around what we do. We want to engage in the community, always in a positive way.”

Supervisor Michael Schiliro said he found the proposal interesting and would like to further explore the application. He hopes to visit one of the nearby SoulCycle locations.

“I’d like to think about this more before we pass it on to the board, and if we feel comfortable about that we can do it,” Schiliro said. “I just need to do some research on how it works.”

If the reaction is favorable, the town board would eventually consider the zoning change and special use permit and to refer the application to the planning board.


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