Robert Karl Kurz, who was born and raised in Lower Gwynedd and played basketball for the University of Notre Dame before brief stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls, will be the franchise owner/operator of a Retro Fitness facility planned for the Blair Mill Road shopping center.
The Horsham Zoning Hearing Board on Tuesday night granted Kurz the OK to open the gym at the space formerly occupied by Rite Aid. Village Mall is anchored by Acme, Speed Raceway and Ollie's Bargain Outlet.
"It’s not a new addition," engineer Robert E. Blue Jr. told the zoning hearing board. "It’s just a reconfiguration of an existing space."
And once that space opens, Kurz, who said he will employ 20 workers for the seven-day-a-week operation, will be "very involved."
"I plan on being there a few hours at least every day," he said.
The board, which, by law can take up to 45 days to render a decision, took action on Tuesday at Kurz's request.
"The sooner we get started the better," Kurz said, adding that he is looking into opening another fitness facility in the area.
Gerald Simon, CFO of New York-based Carlyle Management Corp., which owns Village Mall, testified that his company put a "considerable investment" into the once failing shopping center in the way of facade and lighting improvements.
"There was a totally different look," Simon said of his company's acquisition of the center in 2004. "It was not as pleasing to the eye as it is now."
The fitness franchise–which offers $19.99 per month memberships–will help make the Village Mall a "thriving center" again, according to Simon.