Melrose retail development puts legendary boxing gym in peril

February 23, 2012 10:00AM

When Triangle Equities begins construction on a $35 million retail and commercial complex in the Melrose section of the Bronx, it will be replacing a beloved boxing gym that has trained world champions, including Joshua Clottey, and has served as a sanctuary for city’s youth.

The New York Daily News reported that John’s Boxing Gym, which for 30 years has operated on city-owned land at 436 Westchester Avenue, will move to a 5,000-square-foot space on the second floor of 450 Westchester Avenue. The gym does not make money for owner Gjin Gjini, who said he had to borrow $60,000 to fund the move. Now he’s applying for non-profit status so that he can apply for public funding in an effort to keep the gym running.

“I’m just crossing my fingers,” Gjini said. “I can’t let all these people down.”

The gym, one of the few remaining boxing outposts in the city, will close Feb. 28 and open at its new space March 5. In its place, Triangle is planning to develop a supermarket, a new school, office spaces, a restaurant, an 8,000-square-foot plaza and other community facilities across two parcels that cover more than 110,000 square feet. [NYDN]