Luxe Tribeca condo battles Crunch gym

TRD New York /
Jan.January 10, 2014 08:23 AM

Some of the residents who own multi-million dollar condominium units at 140 Franklin Street in Tribeca are steamed over a proposal to lease a large ground-floor and lower level space to the gym Crunch, a new lawsuit filed late yesterday says.

The $5 million suit, brought by the residential condo’s board of managers claims that John Calicchio’s Lily Realty, the owner of the building’s retail condo, and Crunch are violating the building’s condo declaration and by-laws.

Furthermore, the building does not have the proper zoning to house a gym at all, the suit filed in New York State Supreme Court says.

The suit is seeking $5 million in compensatory damages, and is asking a judge to block Crunch from leasing the space in the building.

The thirteen apartment owners include high-profile executives such as J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, who bought a combined fifth-floor unit for $14.3 million in 2012, city records show.

The retail unit at the base of the six-story, landmarked Romanesque Revival-style building, at the corner of Franklin and Varick streets, has about 19,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and lower level. Calicchio has been in search of a tenant since August 2012 when the ground-floor space hit the market.

At the time, broker Jamison Weiner of the Manhattes Group, who was representing the space, said he expected to lease it for about $110 per foot.

The lawsuit says the condo’s declaration permits “other retail uses compatible with luxury loft type condominium apartment buildings,” but prohibits a use that is “disreputable or is likely to result in unreasonably disturbing noise or bright or flashing lights,” the complaint continues. The gym, which would likely have strong lighting, loud music, spin classes, food and other features, would violate those terms, the complaint says.

A gym was not specifically excluded because it would have been redundant, since such a use is not permitted under zoning rules anyway, the papers indicate.

David Pfeffer and Eric Zipkowitz, partners at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, represented the tenants and declined to comment. Crunch and Calicchio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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