Tribeca Health & Fitness Is Fighting for Its Life

One can understand why a landlord might not be responsive toward the end of a lease, but according to a new GoFundMe drive from Allison and Fred Thompson of Tribeca Health & Fitness, the Lam Group has hamstrung the Chambers Street gym from the get-go. (You may recall that before SP’s Nuts & Candy’s closed, its owner claimed the company wouldn’t even return his calls about renewing the lease.) A greedy landlord is one thing; a landlord that won’t honor the terms of a lease is another thing altogether. From the GoFundMe page:

At the end of 2017, we (Allison & Fred) signed a lease to realize a long time dream: owning a gym that created a supportive community and inspired trainers. Six months later, we are in a battle for our business and our life savings with a real estate giant, the Lam Group.

Three months ago, our landlord, the Lam Group (owner/operators of 8 national hotel properties), had yet to live up to their obligations, as outlined in our lease, to provide the gym with a Certificate of Occupancy and to install a fully functional water tower so that we could effectively operate our air conditioning system. These are both crucial to the successful operation of the gym and will determine our ability to stay open.

Panic set in when the NYC Department of Building threatened that the gym could be shut down at any moment without a Certificate of Occupancy while the hot summer months were quickly approaching without us having proper air conditioning. With what appeared to be no diligent action being taken by our landlord on either front we had no choice but to take them to court to seek restitution for damages and expenses suffered by our business and to have them live up to their obligations as outlined in our lease.

Legal bills for this kind of fight are outrageously high. Our attorney advised us that battles like this can go on for months with the bills reaching upwards of $75,000 or more, to cover attorney and expert witness fees. With the high cost of rent and our daily operating expenses, this additional cost would be an insurmountable obstacle for us. We’ve put all our personal savings as well as the investments of our family, friends, and clients into the gym. We have none left for this fight. That’s why we’re asking for your help to take on this behemoth!

The Lam Group has demonstrated to us that they do not care what happens to us. We’re just a small family owned business and they are a huge company with much larger properties to deal with. They have lawyers on staff and multi-million dollar budgets. To them we are a minor annoyance; to us, we’re in a fight for our lives. […]

We don’t want to be another casualty of big landlord indifference that pushes small businesses around! Tribeca Health and Fitness is the result of our blood, sweat, and love, as well as that of our family and friends.

Please help by donating to our campaign today and passing our story on to friends, family, and associates. We can not thank you enough for your support!

Here’s hoping the Lam Group rectifies matters—and fast.

 

2 Comments

  1. First off, the entire physical culture permit zoning regime, designed to deter brothels, is as woefully puritanical and outdated as the recently repealed cabaret laws were. Just the name “physical culture” retains a musty odor from the early 20th century. Many of the empty stores could rent as gyms without it, just as there is already an exception by DoB for small yoga studios with no showers. (Many existing gyms have no physical culture permit of any kind.). That said, it is the exercise component that makes it a place of physical culture, not the presence of showers.

    Second, it seems clear from the BIS that the building owner did the work to file and get permits and convert the space but never got a final Certificate of Occupancy when they did the conversion in 2008, only temporary CofOs that expired. It seems to have been clear to the tenant as well. (There was even a (still) open Violation relating to this issue back in 2008 – 34587929X).

    Third, even the previous tenant was able to get a physical culture permit without a final CofO. https://tribecacitizen.com/2016/07/14/cb1-tribeca-committee-the-unofficial-minutes-july-2016/

    Fourth, the establishment apparently was not padlocked when violation 35250398Z was issued in April this year. The DoB violation acknowledged the work permit and merely directed that a CofO be obtained. (“NOTED: CELLAR LEVEL & SUB-CELLAR ARE OCCUPIED/CONVERTED INTO PHYSICAL CULTURE ESTABLISHMENT PER JOB #102637942-ALT01.”) Having other open violations on the building does not help one to get the final CofO. Is there a Landlord’s penalty provision in the lease in the event of a shutdown or padlocking of the premises by DoB? If not, there should have been.

    Fifth, one can rent a temporary AC. It’s a pain but it beats the alternative, and the cost goes onto the suit against the landlord anyhow.

    This is a bad situation, and hopefully a resolution can be reached.

  2. Eek…that’s my gym. I love that place and it’s a big part of my life. Here’s hoping this gets sorted out right away. My best to Allison and Fred. Awful that they’re having to deal with this negligent landlord nightmare when all they want to do is promote fitness and health in the neighborhood.

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