Equinox Won’t Pay Rent to Landlords in April

The gym chain’s refusal to pay rent comes after major investor Related Companies’ CEO Jeff Blau chastised its tenants for doing the same.

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Gym chain Equinox failed to pay rent for its more than 300 locations, even as the CEO of its major investor Related Companies chastised other tenants on television for doing the same.

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Equinox — which has 35 outposts in New York City — sent a letter to landlords this week that it would not pay its April rent because it was forced to shutter its locations during the coronavirus epidemic, the Financial Times reported. The news comes the same week Related CEO Jeff Blau said the pandemic was “not an excuse” for companies to skip on rent on CNBC.

“Those companies that have the capability, have liquidity, have a strong balance sheet, I think they need to pay the rent,” Blau said on CNBC. “I think what’s not OK is when you have large companies — whether it’s retail or corporate — that suddenly send blanket letters to their landlords and say, ‘We’re not going to pay the rent.’ ”

“It’s a whole ecosystem and the people who can pay need to pay and the landlords need to help out people that can’t,” Blau added.

A spokeswoman for Equinox did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but a spokeswoman for Related told Commercial Observer that Equinox is a separate entity that makes its own decisions.

“Equinox is an independent company, with multiple investors and we don’t make strategic or operational decisions for them,” the spokesperson said. “As a general practice, we don’t comment on individual tenant rent collections or their financial situations. To be clear, we believe strongly that any company with the capability and liquidity needs to pay rent timely — but in these extraordinary circumstances we will work with others who face severe economic hardship.“

Related — the developer behind the mega-development Hudson Yards — acquired the high-end gym chain Equinox in 2005 for more than $500 million and later sold some of its stake to other investors.

Equinox isn’t the other big retailer who refused to pay up during the coronavirus pandemic. Both the Cheesecake Factory and Mattress Firm sent similar letters to landlords that they wouldn’t pay April’s rent.