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An Adaptive Reuse Journey…Supermarket Becomes a Health Club Which Is Transformed into An Aviation Technical School

Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

A supermarket becomes a health club which becomes an aviation technical school, The Aviation Institute of Maintenance - AIM. On June 8th, 2022, the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) broke ground on their latest facility in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ in collaboration with SBLM Architects. The expansive adaptive reuse project includes a complete transformation of a 65,000-square-foot fitness space into a cutting-edge education facility for aspiring aviation technicians.


Among the many 24-Hour Fitness Centers that SBLM designed was the Hasbrouck Heights site, a former ShopRite supermarket. The new fitness center accommodated a lap pool, sauna/ steam rooms, basketball and squash courts, locker rooms, offices, free weight, exercise and yoga spaces. The first floor provided locker rooms, yoga and exercise rooms, spin classrooms, offices and a large area devoted to exercise machines. The façade of the building was rebuilt and clad with glass and aluminum panels for a sleek modern appearance.  The club opened in 2008 to critical acclaim.


Nevertheless, 24 Hour Fitness decided to refocus their expansion plans in 2017, and the club was closed upon expiration of the lease. SBLM was then contacted by the landowner, and we explored many alternatives for dividing the space, reusing the unique elements of the club and worked with the landowner’s broker to find a new tenant. In late 2021 the Teterboro Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) expressed interest in the site, and SBLM prepared test fit plans for the landowner to facilitate the lease negotiations.  The Institute leased the space and engaged SBLM to design their new facility. AIM was recently acquired by Centura College, a national organization of adult education. An important goal of the new location was to offer an upgraded facility to their students. The program called for large hanger spaces for aircraft and aircraft engines, welding room, metal forming and other fabrication spaces, classrooms, offices and conference rooms and student support areas.


The first-floor structure that had been removed for the health club was restored and re-engineered to support the loads of the hanger areas. The exterior was cleaned, and two large overhead doors added to allow for the delivery of aircraft and large aircraft parts.  The parking lot was upgraded, and a new sidewalk provided at the large doors.  A large platform was built in the area of the former supermarket truck bays for the testing of engines.


Deriving inspiration from airport design, SBLM Architects integrated the clean, yet industrial look and feel of airports into the facility, generating excitement for current and prospective students by immersing them into the world of aeronautics. SBLM’s design evokes the feel of a modern airport.

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