When it was open, The Mansion drove Brick Township police and officials up a wall with constant problems that included fights, underage drinking and other serious disturbances. Now the site will send people up the wall for other reasons.
Gravity Vault, an indoor rock-climbing facility, will open in the site of the former nightclub sometime in 2019, according to the Gravity Vault website. Brick Mayor John G. Ducey also announced it during his Facebook live on Monday.
The agreement to bring the facility to Brick Plaza is a reflection of a change in the shopping landscape as a whole, where large chain department stores have been disappearing and smaller, more diverse retail establishmments have, shopping centers have had take different approaches to fill vacant buildings.
That is certainly true for the owners of Brick Plaza. Instead of filling the old Sports Authority with another department store, Metrovation, the developer for Federal Realty Investment Trust, convinced LA Fitness to fill the store’s place.
Brick Plaza, which has 422,000 square feet of retail space, has lost big chains in recent years, including A&P, the grocery store that was a longtime anchor at the shopping center. The store closed as part of the Greater Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company’s bankruptcy in 2015, but earlier this year HomeGoods and Michael’s opened, sharing the location. Sports Authority closed in 2016.
In December, when Federal Realty and Metrovation appeared before the Brick Township Planning Board to get approval for changes to the Brick Plaza to accommodate LA Fitness, Chris Cole, who represented Federal Realty, told the board LA Fitness was part of a $23 million plan for significant upgrades to keep the shopping center “a vital, attractive piece of Brick.”
Gravity Vault has six other locations in New Jersey, with the closest in Middletown. There are two in New York state and one in Pennsylvania, with two “coming soon” locations there as well.
“The Gravity Vault Indoor Rock Gyms’ mission is to make everyone’s rock climbing experience with us a positive and memorable one,” the company says on its website. “We strive to provide a welcoming environment for everyone young and old, big and small, novice and expert.”