Equinox facing another unpaid rent suit from Manhattan landlord

Savanna alleges $5M owed from three gyms under parent company

Christopher Schlank, founder, Savanna, in front of 5 Bryant Park (Savanna, iStock)
Christopher Schlank, founder, Savanna, in front of 5 Bryant Park (Savanna, iStock)

Lawyers at the Equinox Group are getting more reps in than the fitness company’s clients.

Real estate investment firm Savanna is suing the company, alleging three locations under the brand owe nearly $5.3 million of unpaid rent, Crain’s reported. Savanna filed separate lawsuits on Thursday in state Supreme Court.

At 5 Bryant Park, SoulCycle and Blink Fitness haven’t paid any rent since April 2020, the landlord alleged. The cycling studio is still closed at the location, according to Crain’s, while Blink’s website lists the location as open.

Savanna also alleged an unopened Equinox at 31 West 27th Street hasn’t paid rent since starting its 20-year lease in March 2021. The location was announced in October 2019, but failed to launch prior to the onset of the pandemic, which decimated in-person gyms.

It’s not clear if the Equinox will ever open, according to Crain’s.

Savanna’s lawsuits are the latest disputes Equinox has faced since the onset of the pandemic. In July, the fitness chain was sued for allegedly skipping out on more than $3.3 million in rent and other charges at 568 Broadway.

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About a month later, Paramount Group sued Equinox, claiming it had a payment agreement with the fitness company during the pandemic, only to be spurned. Paramount wanted Equinox to pay $1.57 million for its original lease at 1633 Broadway, including $1.3 million Paramount was willing to defer until 2022.

At least one landlord has proven successful in litigating its case against Equinox, Crain’s reported, as an appellate judge ordered the company to pay $450,000 in arrears to its landlord at 670 Broadway. Equinox previously sued Paramount at the same building, claiming the landlord violated a provision in its lease by renting out space to Bandier, a rival fitness club.

Equinox was among a slew of companies that stopped paying rent at many of its New York City locations at the start of the pandemic. The chain’s nonpayment came amid a push from Related Companies’ CEO for commercial tenants to pay their rents if they had the cash to do so; Related’s principals are Equinox’s owners.

[Crain’s] — Holden Walter-Warner