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November 13, 2019 Deal Watch Today

W. Hartford finds retail tenants to fill vacated Toys R Us storefronts

Photo | Mike Kalasnik/Flickr Ulta Beauty is looking to occupy a portion of the former Babies R Us store on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford.

Many wondered what would happen to the vacant storefronts left behind by Toys R Us following its bankruptcy and eventual store closures last year. 

The town of West Hartford has found some answers.  

Edge Fitness and beauty-products retailer Ulta Beauty will soon, or plan to take over two vacant former Toys R Us and Babies R Us retail stores within a mile of each other on New Britain Avenue. 

The children’s retailer closed the two West Hartford stores, among others nationally, in the summer of 2018 as it worked through Ch. 11 bankruptcy. 

Filling those stores is expected to revive nearly 50,000 square feet of vacant space in a town that held Greater Hartford’s fourth lowest retail vacancy rate in the last year.

A spokeswoman for Edge Fitness on Tuesday said the 24-hour fitness club will debut Dec. 21 at the former 38,800-square-foot Toys R Us in the Corbin’s Corner retail center. 

Edge Fitness centers provide amenities including a cinema cardio space, saunas, group exercise classes, a women’s workout area, a turf area and areas for messages or tanning.

The West Hartford gym will become the 15th Edge Fitness center in the state, adding to locations in Bristol, Meriden, Manchester and Hamden. The club operates 14 locations in six other states, and is building new gyms in Glastonbury, Illinois and Michigan, among other areas, according to its website.

Founded by Vincent Sansone and his wife, Laurie, in 1988, the fitness club is headquartered in Orange where its flagship gym opened in 2016.

Photo | Edge Fitness
An Edge Fitness center.

Ulta Beauty, meanwhile, is planning to occupy approximately 10,941 square feet of a roughly 30,543-square-foot space formerly housed by Babies R Us at 1559 New Britain Ave.

The building’s landlord, on behalf of the Illinois-based chain, received approval from the town council Tuesday night to lift certain zoning restrictions at the site, according to Town Manager Matt Hart.

Hart said the retailer has now received all necessary zoning approvals to begin renovations at the site.

Ulta Beauty could not be reached for comment on when it hopes to debut in West Hartford.

In Connecticut, the chain currently operates stores in Avon, Manchester, Wethersfield and Plainville, according to its website.

This story has been updated to include comment from Town Manager Matt Hart.

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