First Businesses Set to Open Doors at Adaptive Reuse of Old Movie Theatre

Adaptive reuse of old movie theatre to commercial use building at 191 Lefante Way
Adaptive reuse building at 191 Lefante Way inside South Cove Commons shopping center. Photo Credit: Bayonne Buzz

The adaptive reuse construction on 191 Lefante Way inside the South Cove Commons shopping center has progressed with the first businesses in Lightbridge Academy, Phenix Salon Suites, Optum, and Americas Best Contact & Eyeglasses set to open their doors. While some of the businesses are now operating at the building, construction is still ongoing and expected to last for approximately the next twelve months according to Frank Alessi of The Alessi Organization, the developer behind the project. The remaining spaces are expected to be offices and medical space.

Alessi noted that the project got upsized since its initial approval to accommodate increased demand. As residential construction continues on the Ave E and Broadway corridors, businesses were looking for more space to meet the demand of the growing population and with enough parking spaces to accommodate them. Given that the building was home to Bayonne Frank Cinemas 12 before its adaptive reuse, the location has many parking spaces available, a key feature that businesses were looking for Alessi said.

Lightbridge Academy signage at 191 Lefante Way
Lightbridge Academy signage at 191 Lefante Way. Photo Credit: Bayonne Buzz

The Lightbridge Academy officially began welcoming students this week with Monday September 11 marking the first day of school. The well-regarded early education and day care provider is known for their “learning is fun” philosophy through play and positive reinforcement. Additionally, the school aims to cultivate a stimulating environment, expanding a child’s innate abilities through various learning areas and build upon the skills they acquire at various ages and stages of their development. Lightbridge is occupying a large space on the ground floor of the building. Its so big in fact that the location is the largest Lightbridge location in the country according to several employees that we spoke to. The school has enough space to accommodate approximately 250 students although limits are set by age. Lightbridge operates or has under development approximately 80 facilities in the US with most in NY, NJ and PA.

Also taking up space is Phenix Salon Suites. Phenix offers space to enterprising cosmetologists who want to offer their own individual beauty services, all with a luxury spa like feel. Phenix has a total of 37 suites available at the property to those in the cosmetology field including hair stylists, manicurist / nail artists, makeup artists, estheticians (skin care), waxing technicians and others. Cosmetologists will be able to customize their suite to their own tastes and select platform services from Phenix including billing, scheduling, and other solutions. A rep from the company says there are still suites available, although demand has been strong. Construction is still ongoing on their suites with an expected opening toward the end of this year. Phenix is set to occupy suites on the second floor. Once they open their doors, Phenix is expected to be open 24 hours a day giving cosmetologists ultimate flexibility in setting their own schedule.

Sample of possible set up of a Phenix Salon Suite
Sample of possible set up of a Phenix Salon Suite. Photo courtesy of Phenix Salon Suites

America’s Best Contact & Eyeglasses is set to open soon, with a target date of later this month or next.  The firm offers both eye exams and eye ware to customers with a focus on being able to do so at low prices in part to their ongoing innovation. The firm carries eye wear from the likes of Calvin Klein, Oakley, Ray-Ban® among others. America’s Best currently has over 900 locations throughout 31 States and Washington DC.

Finally, Optum opened their doors in July. The business focuses on medical services and offers primary care and cardiologist services at this location. Local residents may know them better by their previous name in Riverside Medical Group. In fact, this location is a relocation from their 20th Street and Broadway location. The 20th Street location is still in existence but has been repurposed according to an employee we spoke to.

Other tenants at the building have not yet been announced.

Construction broke ground in June 2021 on 191 Lefante Way. We look forward to the building wrapping up construction and the future businesses that will fill those spaces.

Adaptive reuse of old movie theatre to commercial use building at 191 Lefante Way
Adaptive reuse building at 191 Lefante Way inside South Cove Commons shopping center. Photo Credit: Bayonne Buzz