The Equinox Tribeca club in Manhattan is seeking $8 million in damages against its new landlord for allegedly threatening to terminate its lease over various noise-related violations.
The Feb. 10 summons filed by Equinox Tribeca Inc. in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York County came in response to a Jan. 27 notice of default sent to the club by landlord 50 Murray Street Acquisition LLC. The notice gave Equinox a Monday deadline to cure the alleged violations, according to court documents. (The summons and notice of default can be read at the bottom of this page.)
Equinox Tribeca entered into a lease at the 21-story mixed-use building on Murray Street in 2002 with Lionshead 110 Development LLC for $1.2 million in annual rent, according to the summons. The building was purchased from 50 Murray Street Acquisition in 2014, according to the summons. The notice of default alleges "…among other things, weights being dropped on the floor..." as a violation of the lease that disturbs the building's residential tenants and occupants, citing City of New York laws and New York City Administrative Codes.
Equinox Tribeca attorney Lawrence Rosen argued in the summons that the notice of default is without merit and has no validity, and he told the New York Post that the complaints are only coming from a handful of upstairs neighbors.
"Any noise or vibrations emanating from Equinox as a result of weight training, use of cardio equipment, cycling and group fitness classes, music playing, or any of its other fitness club activities or operations is 'customary' and 'normal' for a fitness center," Rosen argued in the summons. Cited in the summons is an acknowledgement in the lease noting that noises "customary" with a health center may emanate from the club, and only "excessive" noise not consistent with normal health center noise is prohibited.
Equinox Tribeca recently upgraded and installed thicker flooring in the strength training area and provides membership discounts to residents in the building, according to the summons. The club claims it is not contractually obligated to cure any conditions Murray Street Acquisition deems unacceptable for its own purposes and is willing to cure an alleged default if the court determines a default exists in the notice, according to the summons.
Equinox Tribeca invested approximately $8 million in design and construction of the club, which it claims "dramatically enhanced" the value of the building, according to the summons. Equinox Tribeca also claimed it retained professionals to ensure construction of the club complied with lease requirements, and Lionshead Development approved every aspect of design and construction.
"Despite 14 years of the Equinox Tribeca club operating as a health club at the premises without its prior landlord ever having defaulted Equinox under the lease, Murray Street Acquisition, the new owner of the building, served Equinox with a purported notice of default seeking to terminate Equinox’s lease on the specious grounds that the very same noise and vibrations that have been associated with normal exercise at the health club for the last 14 years suddenly rise to the level of 'defaults' under the Lease," Rosen argued in the summons.
Equinox Tribeca is seeking a declaratory judgment stating the club is not in default under the lease, the club's activity is normal under the lease and Murray Street Acquisition is obligated to remedy structural elements of the building if the noise is unacceptable for its own purposes. Equinox is also seeking a permanent injunction, judgment tolling the cure period and breach of contract.
The parties are scheduled to appear in court April 7.
Notice of Default