Morgan Frisch/Recorder staff

Amsterdam Zoning Board chairman Vincent Fiorillo, housing inspector Grant Egelston, and zoning board member Art Iannuzzi listen to member Ron Barone speak during Thursday’s meeting.


Recorder News Staff

An Amsterdam man is hopeful to put a boxing and American Ninja Warrior training facility in the former Fownes Brothers factory on Elk Street.

Alexis Nieuwkerk went before the Amsterdam Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday to ask for a use variance. The area where Nieuwkerk would like to place the gym on 26 Elk St. is a light industrial zoning district. He requested to change the zoning to commercial so he could go forward with the project. The zoning board approved his request 5-0.

Nieuwkerk said the gym would be called “Iron Throne Inc.” He said it would be geared for children 5 years old and up.

“So parents that are wanting to work out or do something fun with their child can come up,” he said. “If they don’t want to practice, they can allow their child to practice.”

Nieuwkerk said there would be trainers for the boxing and fitness. He would have the gym on a membership basis so people could come and work out on their own time. The facility would have pegboards and monkey bars that vary in size as well as a series of parallel punching bags and obstacle courses.

Zoning board chairman Vincent Fiorillo asked if parking would be in the southern parking lot or the one that is currently locked.

Nieuwkerk said the locked lot, but he would talk to the landlord about using other portions of the property if the gym becomes more popular. He told the zoning board members he would plan on having an intercom system to make people more accountable.

“If (the members) ring the doorbell, I see them on the monitor,” he said. “It’s not going to be kids walking to the first floor, second floor.”

Zoning board member Douglas Landon asked Nieuwkerk if there is anything in the space currently.

“No, it’s blank, it’s just a conveyor belt that goes from 15 feet in the air down,” Nieuwkerk said.

He explained that he would take down the belt and it’s not in the portion of the space he would be leasing. He plans to rent 10,000 square feet for the facility. It’s the “back half” of a 20,000 square foot building.

Nieuwkerk said he’s already been getting a lot of “buzz” from people just from talking about the plan for the gym.

“They can’t wait for something like this to happen,” he said.

Landon asked Nieuwkerk if anyone was competing with him for the space, to which Nieuwkerk said no.

“Then I will vote yes,” Landon said.