Wilton sports training facility to nearly triple in size

Photo of J.D. Freda
The Wilton Sportsplex will have one of its tenants, SportsPerformanceU, expand its operating space by nearly three times.

The Wilton Sportsplex will have one of its tenants, SportsPerformanceU, expand its operating space by nearly three times.

Wilton Sportsplex / Contributed Photo

WILTON — A prominent sports training facility in the south end of town is looking to expand in size, overtaking some vacant property within the Wilton Sportsplex building behind the shopping center at 39 Danbury Road that houses a Dunkin Donuts and Jersey Mike’s Subs.

The private training facility, SportPerformanceU, currently operates out of the Wilton Sportsplex, owned and operated by owner Lee Wilson of Wilson Properties. Real estate broker Kevin O’Brien, who spoke for Wilson at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Monday, expressed excitement at the prospect of the local business looking to expand. He also needed to propose a small variance for the site, which was approved unanimously by the town board.

“(SportPerformanceU) are looking to expand their business, which is unusual these days,” O’Brien said, referencing how the town’s residential sector continues to boom but its commercial sector has taken residual hits from the lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “They are looking to take the vacant space that is in the building, which is close to 10,000 square feet.”

As it stands, the Sportsplex encompasses roughly 26,500 square feet, according to O’Brien and the building description on Wilson’s website. SportPerformanceU inhabits nearly 3,700 square feet of that total. The other commercial tenants in the building include Burn Boot Camp, a gym, and Espinosa Baseball, a private baseball training facility run by Joe Espinosa, a former scout for the Milwaukee Brewers.

“They are almost tripling the size of their business within the same facility,” O’Brien said to the zoning board members.

The training facility focuses on young athletes from around the southwestern corner of Connecticut. Some notable alumni include Petyon McNamara, a four-year letterwinner at Brien McMahon High School in her hometown of Norwalk, and a current Ohio State standout and Jamaican National Team select player; as well as Thomas Costigan, a former standout at Trinity Catholic in Stamford who was previously rostered by the Los Angeles Chargers in the National Football League and currently plays for the Edmonton Elks in the Canadian Football League.

In order for the business to move forward with its scaling up, the building that houses it needed a small facelift to stay up to code.

O’Brien proposed just a 75 square-foot variance request for a front staircase and stoop to be placed at the front door of the building. A proper business lobby was mentioned by O’Brien to be in the works for the Sportsplex as visitors walk up the new staircase and into the front door.

A handicap-accessible ramp is also being proposed in the rear of the building.

O’Brien and Wilson had to come to the Zoning Board of Appeals for approval as the building’s site coverage, at 83 percent, already sits above the allotted site coverage limit set by the town, which is 80 percent. The 75-square-foot addition would bring the site coverage up slightly, to just below 84 percent.

The real estate broker explained that because the building was erected before the regulations changed, roughly in 1973 he estimated, it is a pre-existing nonconforming property in the eyes of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Board Chairman Anthony Cenatiempo voiced his support, saying the variance request was a “miniscule addition” to the site coverage and that it was necessary to add another egress for code purposes. The rest of the board followed suit and agreed to approve the variance.

One of Wilson and O’Brien’s next steps will be to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission in the coming months to discuss changes to parking on site.