One can understand why a landlord might not be responsive toward the end of a lease, but according to a new GoFundMe drive from Allison and Fred Thompson of Tribeca Health & Fitness, the Lam Group has hamstrung the Chambers Street gym from the get-go. (You may recall that before SP’s Nuts & Candy’s closed, its owner claimed the company wouldn’t even return his calls about renewing the lease.) A greedy landlord is one thing; a landlord that won’t honor the terms of a lease is another thing altogether. From the GoFundMe page:
At the end of 2017, we (Allison & Fred) signed a lease to realize a long time dream: owning a gym that created a supportive community and inspired trainers. Six months later, we are in a battle for our business and our life savings with a real estate giant, the Lam Group.
Three months ago, our landlord, the Lam Group (owner/operators of 8 national hotel properties), had yet to live up to their obligations, as outlined in our lease, to provide the gym with a Certificate of Occupancy and to install a fully functional water tower so that we could effectively operate our air conditioning system. These are both crucial to the successful operation of the gym and will determine our ability to stay open.
Panic set in when the NYC Department of Building threatened that the gym could be shut down at any moment without a Certificate of Occupancy while the hot summer months were quickly approaching without us having proper air conditioning. With what appeared to be no diligent action being taken by our landlord on either front we had no choice but to take them to court to seek restitution for damages and expenses suffered by our business and to have them live up to their obligations as outlined in our lease.
Legal bills for this kind of fight are outrageously high. Our attorney advised us that battles like this can go on for months with the bills reaching upwards of $75,000 or more, to cover attorney and expert witness fees. With the high cost of rent and our daily operating expenses, this additional cost would be an insurmountable obstacle for us. We’ve put all our personal savings as well as the investments of our family, friends, and clients into the gym. We have none left for this fight. That’s why we’re asking for your help to take on this behemoth!
The Lam Group has demonstrated to us that they do not care what happens to us. We’re just a small family owned business and they are a huge company with much larger properties to deal with. They have lawyers on staff and multi-million dollar budgets. To them we are a minor annoyance; to us, we’re in a fight for our lives. […]
We don’t want to be another casualty of big landlord indifference that pushes small businesses around! Tribeca Health and Fitness is the result of our blood, sweat, and love, as well as that of our family and friends.
Please help by donating to our campaign today and passing our story on to friends, family, and associates. We can not thank you enough for your support!
Here’s hoping the Lam Group rectifies matters—and fast.