An Arlington site whose business fell victim to internet publishing and has been closed for more than three years expects to find new life in the exercise market.
Part of the former Arlington Lithograph footprint will include Upbeat Cycling, which Arlington owner Jacqueline Maurer calls a boutique genre of indoor group cycling using stationary bikes, set to music and led by certified instructors.
She is shooting to open the spinning business in the spring.
Following a public hearing Monday, Dec. 19, the town Redevelopment Board approved, 5-0, an environmental design review special permit allowing Upbeat Cycling and Faiola Realty Trust a change of use for 3,000 square feet of the building at 6 Schouler Court. The property is in the B2A Major Business District.
Space will remain at the site, between Arlington High and Mystic Wine, for another enterprise. The Faiolas, who own the property as well as Mystic Wine, have received numerous inquiries about the remaining space, from a cafe to an education incubator. Discussions about the latter continue.
Josh Fenellosa, of Brown Fenellosa Architects, of Arlington, noted that the former gasoline station fronting on Mass. Ave., which is fenced off and has a large red X on it, is a separate property.
John Maher, the former longtime town counsel who represented Maurer, addressed the lack of parking. "We think we have complied and every effort to according parking," he said, noting Town Meeting's effort to reduce parking required by 75 percent.
Business hours, parking
He cited permission from adjoining businesses permitting vehicle parking, the addition of bicycle parking and the owner's business model. That involves early morning and late afternoon classes -- before and after Arlington High School is in session. Hours are to be 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.
Also noted were access to buses and the Minuteman Bikeway.
"I am very committed to Arlington," said Maurer, a longtime town resident.
She calls herself an avid cyclist who brings to town commerce a female-owned business. An active spinning instructor, she said Upscale expects to trend toward being "a little more upscale," focusing on customer service to provide "a pleasant, enjoyable environment .... We want to create a sensory experience form beginning to end."
She said she calls it Upbeat Cycling because fitness is fun. "You go in and ride it off," she said. Each has his or her "it" -- frustration, anger, a desire to move.
An example of the genre she cited is SoulCycle, with three locations in greater Boston.
Right now, if an Arlington resident wants to spin, the closest location is in Harvard Square, with another due to open in Burlington.
She said she expect client demographics to draw this way: 80 percent women, 20 percent men.
She said her business would be a good influence to those nearby, including wine. She smiled, and the Faiola family members in the audience smiled.
Incentives, AHS connection
She added her value-driven approach would include an incentive programs, in which clients earn points for free classes.
She expects a "symbiotic relationship" with Arlington High, including discounts and employment opportunities or students.
As to parking, six spots in the back and four in the front will accommodate bicycles.
Access to the back of building, where spinning will take place, is via a ramp on the side next to the driveway of a private home.
Board member Kin Lau asked about showers.
"This is more like a yoga or karate studio," which do not have showers, Maurer said.
West cites creativity
Board member Dave Watson said he saw the plan as having a "lot of positive things to get people out of cars." He said he is not concerned about the lack of parking for cars.
After Maurer said classes could have up to 32 clients, Watson asked: "What happens if more ride bikes" than there are parking spots. She noted there is plenty of rooms for more bike racks.
Board Chairman Andrew Bunnell said he likes the project as a whole.
Member Andrew West commended the applicant and called the application "great," adding that it demonstrates the creative ways toward parking envisioned in the master plan, adopted in 2015.
After member Michael Cayer moved approval, the board approved the application, 5-0.
This news summary was published Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016.
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