Despite rent-deferral agreement, landlord claims Equinox still won’t pay

Paramount Group sues fitness chain for $1.6M in arrears at Midtown gym

Photo Illustration of Paramount Group Chairman, CEO and President Albert Behler in a Manhattan Equinox (Paramount, Equinox, Getty)
Photo Illustration of Paramount Group Chairman, CEO and President Albert Behler (Paramount, Equinox, Getty)

Paramount Group says its bargain with Equinox is off.

While other landlords across Manhattan have turned to the court system to recoup rent the fitness chain allegedly skipped out on during the pandemic, Paramount claimed in a lawsuit Friday that it was willing to work with its tenant — only to be spurned in return.

Paramount wants Equinox to pay $1.57 million under its original lease, including $1.3 million which Paramount was willing to defer until 2022.

The haute gym agreed last September to pay half its approximately $138,000 base rent for 28,000 square feet at 1633 Broadway, plus a percentage equal to any capacity permitted under government Covid restrictions, according to Paramount.

From December to May, for example, when gym capacity was limited to 33 percent, Equinox owed half its monthly rent plus an additional 33 percent of base, or about $114,000 per month, under the terms of the agreement.

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In exchange for partial payment, Paramount would defer all rent owed during periods of required business closure until 2022. The remainder of rent due from periods of partial payment would be deferred until 90 days after all capacity restrictions were removed, Paramount claims.

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But after Equinox allegedly failed to cure a May default notice, Paramount cancelled the agreement.

Landlords have accused Equinox of failing to pay debts large and small over the past year.

Last month, landlord Allied Partners sued the chain for $3.3 million in alleged arrears at its Soho location. The landlord at the fitness chain’s 421 Hudson Street location in the West Village reportedly sued for more than $1.3 million in back rent in October, according to Crain’s, while another alleged the company owed $1.7 million in back rent at its Financial District gym.

Separately, a Murray Hill landlord sued the gym and one of its apparent employees last week, alleging overdue rent on a residential unit costing about $3,000 per month.

Equinox has long been associated with Related Companies, whose principals, including chairman Stephen Ross and CEO Jeff Blau, hold ownership stakes in the fitness chain. Blau criticized commercial tenants for skipping rent last year, saying the pandemic “is not an excuse” for missed payments. Related claims a portfolio of assets valued at over $60 billion.

Representatives of Equinox and Paramount did not return requests for comment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted all capacity restrictions for restaurants, bars, gyms and retailers on June 16, 2021.

Equinox will reportedly require proof of vaccination from its patrons beginning in September.