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Empty Kmart in Paramus to become indoor sports practice facility

indoor training facility

Empty Kmart in Paramus scores a new use

DECEMBER 28, 2015, 6:23 PM    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2015, 6:44 PM

The vacant, cavernous Kmart store in Paramus has been carpeted with artificial turf and been given a new, if temporary, lease on life as an indoor practice facility for North Jersey sports teams.

On Monday morning, the 91,000-square-foot, hangar-like building, which used to be crowded with store shelves and shoppers, rang with the shouts of two dozen youngsters kicking soccer balls and running drills.

The unusual arrangement meets two separate goals: a Bergen County entrepreneur’s need for a location with enough floor and ceiling space to accommodate several practice fields; and the landlord’s need for a short-term tenant until development plans for the shopping center are finalized.

Scott Vandersnow  of Upper Saddle River this month opened the building as The Arena, an indoor training facility, and has begun renting the space out to youth sports teams. This week, the building is being used for youth soccer and lacrosse camps that Vandersnow is offering for parents who want their kids to stay active during the winter break.

Vandersnow, 41, grew up in Washington Township, has a background in finance and currently works in commercial real estate lending. He is also a soccer dad who has logged many hours watching or running practices for his 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. He said he saw the need for more practice space in Bergen County and was looking for locations when he spotted the Kmart building.

The Kmart, which was built in 1979, closed a year ago after its lease expired. The building is in a strip shopping center owned by the Stop & Shop supermarket chain, and that also houses a Stop & Shop store.