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Court Jester Tries On Sneakers

BINGHAMTON, NY — Court Jester Athletic Club, which has been looking to open a satellite club for years, signed a 10-year lease on Sneaker Fitness Center's former 13,000-square-foot building and plans to reopen the club in June. The new owner is investing $500,000 to gut the building, add new locker rooms, aerobics rooms and a child care facility, buy new equipment and make other building improvements.

LuAnn DeMartino, former owner of Sneakers, abruptly closed the club Jan. 27 when she was unable to renew liability insurance due to the club's sinking gym floors, cracks in the walls and an unstable foundation. Her landlord, however, allegedly served DeMartino with a three-day eviction notice for owing tens of thousands of dollars in back rent and faced her in court in early February. The case is now in the hands of the insurance company, said Court Jester owner Matt Bedosky.

An inspector and engineer inspected the building, and Bedosky said the building is structurally safe, and the cracks in the wall were caused by water leaking from the pool. He plans to solve the problem by filling the pool with gravel and installing a new concrete floor.

“All the problems are related to the pool, which is being eliminated,” he said.

The landlord is responsible for getting the building into rentable condition, and as the new tenant, Court Jester will pay to build out the renovated facility.

The new club, called Court Jester Athletic Club East, hopes to pull in 1,000 members initially. The 4,000 members who belong to the club's 35,000-square-foot club in Johnson City, NY, will also have access to the new club. The two clubs will have different atmospheres, he said.

“Our new club will attract the more serious lifter,” he said. “It will be more wide open and look like a big-time gym.”

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