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Get Pumped Up: Chester Gym Sets Grand Opening Day

Nitro Flex Gym will open 15,000-square-foot fitness space in former movie theater.

The outside of Nitro Flex Gym pre-sales center in Chester.
The outside of Nitro Flex Gym pre-sales center in Chester.

Building an object to its fullest potential takes time, effort, and above all else, patience to see results. 

No one knows that better than Steve Tylee, owner of Nitro Flex Gym in Chester, which has finally set a date for a grand opening after months of construction stalls and back and forth with the borough’s planning board.

Tylee has kept his patience through the process, though. The three-time Mr. England and professional body builder understands what it takes to sculpt an object into the best product it can be.

Originally scheduled to open in September 2013, Tylee has gone before the borough’s planning board twice, and just last week was approved to reconfigure the façade of the gym’s permanent location.

Taking up 15,000-square-feet of the former Clearview Cinema movie theatre in the corner of the mall, Nitro Flex Fitness Gym hopes to pump iron on Feb. 22, Tylee said.

“Whether it’s a soft opening or a grand opening, we’re shooting to open within a week of that date,” Tylee said Monday with an unmistakable British accent.

As someone who came in third overall in the 2000 Mr. Universe competition, Tylee knows the gym’s overall appearance needs to be grand, and that was part of the holdup with the town.

Faced with a battle over the borough’s sign ordinance, the gym was approved to place a 30-foot wide sign on the backside of the building, which faces Maple Avenue.

“You’ll be able to see it from Rt. 206,” Tylee said with a big grin on his face.

Below the sign will be a completely transformed wall, as the brick is removed and makes way for a glass facing that will take up three-fourths of the main entryway. 

Nitro Flex opened a pre-sales center where the Ann Taylor store once sat, adjacent to the Shop Rite, and allows current members to work out there in its temporary location. The gym is currently equipped with a dozen spin bikes, cardio equipment with digital access, and fitness center staples that include dumbbells and stairs steppers.

Because of the delays, Tylee hasn’t charged his current members for monthly memberships at the temporary location.

World Experience Becomes Expertise

Tylee, who moved to the United States with his wife 10 years ago, has trained in gyms across the globe thanks to his competing days, but also because his wife, who was transferred here, is an executive of Wyndham Hotels, and the family travels often.

Tylee has also owned Nitro Fit Center in Cedar Knolls for the past six years and thought the time was right to bring more of that business to his town of residence.

“I’ve trained in gyms all over the world, and I’ve got a good eye for what the best gyms have,” he said. The Chester resident of three years also said he took into consideration many of the concerns from parents when it was announced the movie theater would be closing as a result Clearview being bought out by BowTie Cinemas.

The cost of building and opening the fitness center has cost Tylee $1.2 million so far, he said.

“I’m going to make the gym a hybrid of two different things,” he said. “It’s going to be like a YMCA and there will be classes and groups here for the kids and things for them to do. The other half is a gym similar to Equinox.”

The latter, he said, is a high-end fitness center that charges clients more than $100 per month, but provides services that include refrigerated towels for cool downs and eucalyptus oil for skin moisturizers, to name a few.

Tylee said he’s already reached out to teachers in Chester and offered them discounted rates, and students and seniors will also be privy to a lower monthly membership cost. Regular monthly users will be charged $54.99 on opening day.

Tylee will make sure Nitro Flex Gym is something area fitness buffs can get pumped up about. 

Ken J. January 13, 2014 at 10:39 PM
I'd rather the theater be there than another crappy gym that has now taken up 2 spots in the mall. Whatever happened to running around Chubb Park, or any of the neighborhoods around Chester? That shopping mall needs a gym like I need a hole in my foot.

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