Leases  ·  Retail

LA Fitness Sues Related to Halt Equinox Location in West Palm

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L.A. Fitness wants to stop Equinox from flexing its muscle in West Palm Beach.

The parent company of L.A. Fitness, Fitness International, filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court earlier this month against Stephen Ross’s Related Companies, which is both L.A. Fitness’s landlord at The Square mixed-use development in Downtown West Palm Beach and part owner of Equinox, an uber-luxury gym chain.  

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Related plans to build a new office complex at 545 Hibiscus Street, which will include an Equinox gym, according to the complaint. The move, Fitness International alleges, would violate its lease agreement that guarantees L.A. Fitness’ exclusive rights over fitness-related retail operations at The Square.

The complaint does not provide any details about the potential Equinox location.

Another concern for Fitness International is SoulCycle, which Related also owns. Since November, the spinning studio has operated an outdoor pop-up at The Square’s courtyard. For Fitness International, the location represents another alleged violation of its agreement. 

Fitness International has accused Related of opening the Soul Cycle location to poach L.A. Fitness’s customers. To assuage the company’s concern, Related executives promised to donate all proceeds from the pop-up to charity, according to the filing.

Related has yet to file a counterclaim, and a spokesperson for the developer declined to comment. 

Related, West Palm Beach’s largest owner of Class A space, completed The Square nearly two decades ago. In 2012, Fitness International signed a 28,674-square-foot lease to open an L.A. Fitness outpost across the 600,000-square-foot complex at 700 S Rosemary Avenue

Since the pandemic, which prompted high-prolide financial companies, including Goldman Sachs and Elliot Management, to open offices in West Palm Beach, The Square has been trying to go upscale.  

In recent years, the New York-based developer has courted high-end tenants, including Sweetgreen and the owners of Italian restaurant Sant Ambroeus and Harry’s, an iconic steakhouse near Wall Street. 

Related is also building a 22-story luxury apartment building at 575 Rosemary Street after securing a $140 million construction loan last year. 

To make way for the office complex at the center of Fitness International’s complaint, Related bought out AMC’s lease for $13.2 million earlier this year, county records show. The two-tower complex is slated to total 860,000 square feet. 

It isn’t Related’s first attempt at bringing an Equinox to West Palm Beach. After purchasing the nearby Phillips Points in 2021 for $282 million, the developer wanted to add an Equinox to the property, but those efforts fizzled later that year, said a source familiar with the dealings. 

Fitness International is launching a luxury gym chain called Club Studio meant to compete with Equinox. In Miami, it’s signed at least two leases over the past year. 

Julia Echikson can be reached at jechikson@commercialobserver.com