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IMAX Plans to Launch Cycling Gym in DUMBO

By Alexandra Leon | November 20, 2015 8:55am | Updated on November 20, 2015 5:24pm
 IMAX is planning on opening a gym at 135 Plymouth Street in DUMBO.
IMAX is planning on opening a gym at 135 Plymouth Street in DUMBO.
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DNAinfo/Alexandra Leon

DUMBO — IMAX is pedaling into the fitness business.

IMAX Fit LLC, part of the company known for its larger-than-life, surround-sound movie theaters, has applied for a special permit to open a SoulCycle-like gym on the first floor of 135 Plymouth St. in DUMBO, which would feature one of its trademark screens. 

The gym would consist of tiered rows of stationary bicycles that would face the screen, which would play original content created by IMAX and its partners, according to Robert Lister, the company's chief business development officer.

Lister said the new venture is still in the preliminary testing phase and that the company is working on creating high-energy videos and music that would play during the classes. 

He said if the company goes ahead with the plans, the DUMBO location would be the first of its kind in the country.

It wasn’t clear how big the screen would be, but a typical IMAX screen measures 72 feet by 53 feet. 

IMAX has to get permission from CB2 in order to open under a 1970s NYC law that mandates gyms get a "physical culture establishment permit," which was introduced in a bid to curb the rise of seedy massage parlors.

The CB2 committee recommended the full board support the permit application, with 10 committee members in favor of granting the permit and 2 opposed.

The full board is expected to vote on the committee recommendation on Dec. 9. It will then have to go before the Board of Standards and Appeals some time in late winter or early spring, according to CB 2 District Manager Robert Perris.

The DUMBO warehouse where the gym would be located is owned by the Benedetto family, which used to operate its paper recycling company there, public records show. The building also houses artist studios, although it is not legally a residential building, according to a 2013 New York Times article.

The tenants and owners have applied to legalize the residential building, but under different circumstances, the Times reported. The 200,000-square-foot factory holds between 50 and 60 units.

Public records show the application to legalize is still pending.

Resident James Seward, a 36-year-old artist who’s lived in the building for 10 years, said he didn’t know of the plans to open a gym on the first floor of the warehouse, but he wouldn’t be opposed to the idea.

“I think it’s good for the neighborhood,” he said. “It sounds kind of cool.”

Seward said he would prefer something like a gym to be in the space over the paper company.

Another resident said he had heard all about the plans to open the IMAX gym, but did not want to comment because of the pending application to legalize the building.

The building’s owners did not immediately answer requests for comment.