West Seattle (Athletic) Club: Three days to $1.1 million deadline

(UPDATED Wednesday afternoon with club’s e-mail re: Thursday/Friday closure plan)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The future of the West Seattle (Athletic) Club should be clearer, for now, by the end of the week.

This Friday (October 24th), as reported here two weeks ago, is the deadline for owner Sam Adams to pay $1.1 million in back rent/other payments to landlord John Pietromonaco, to hold off eviction. According to the court orders stipulating that deadline, a “loan contract already executed by [Adams’s company] Hollystone Holdings” was going to provide that money.

However, with three days to go, he hasn’t paid up, according to Pietromonaco, who we reached by phone this afternoon.

Pietromonaco told us that officially, the situation remains: Friday is the deadline for Adams to pay what is owed; otherwise, they have court-granted authority for the King County Sheriff’s Office to carry out an eviction order. If that happens, he said without elaborating, they have a plan to keep the club running.

An e-mail from a club employee to some club instructors, forwarded to us anonymously, goes further and suggests that an ownership change is imminent as of next weekend, and that Adams plans to close the club for a time before then to remove equipment, with the unidentified new owner then bringing in their own. In terms of a timeline, Pietromonaco would only say that we’ll see what happens Friday.

As recently as October 8th – the day after we reported the October 24th payment deadline – official club communications were declaring an expectation that ownership/management wouldn’t change. This is from an e-mail blast sent that day to members:

… Here at The West Seattle Club we are committed to serving the needs of our community and appreciate the support from our dedicated members. Despite grumblings we are not closing, nor will the club close unless the landlord chooses. We are currently under a lease and are going back and forth with the landlord on key points. We plan on assuming the lease and continuing to move forward as we upgrade the facility. …

It’s been almost four months since Adams and his wife filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on the last weekend in June, facing an eviction hearing the following Monday morning. The filing temporarily put eviction proceedings on hold, and Pietromonaco agreed that if Adams paid a certain amount by an agreed date in August – far lower than the current $1.1 million – operations could continue. That didn’t happen, and a new cycle of court proceedings followed, as reported here in September.

Adams, a former pro-football player, bought the club in spring 2013 during bankruptcy proceedings for the previous operation there, Allstar Fitness. His current Chapter 11 case has grown to include claims that he is also behind on rent on his waterfront home in Kirkland, purchased in a $3.8 million rent-to-own deal, with the landlords’ lawyer writing in court documents that they “… have been models of patience in awaiting the payment of rent.”

According to county records, Pietromonaco’s H-P Properties bought the two-acre 2629 SW Andover fitness-club property in 2008 for $17 million.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON FOLLOWUP: Thanks to those who have forwarded the club’s e-mail blast saying it’ll be closed tomorrow and Friday, reopening Saturday. That’s the entirety of what it says.

55 Replies to "West Seattle (Athletic) Club: Three days to $1.1 million deadline"

  • kate October 21, 2014 (4:33 pm)

    Can’t thank the WSB enough for keeping us members up to date on this situation. I will remain positive and hope that my beloved gym is just getting closer to seeing better days. New owners? Keeping fingers crossed!

  • CB October 21, 2014 (6:01 pm)

    I quit this club six years ago due to the poor conditions. I feel for anyone who is still a member. Too bad as the facility has great potential. They need a deep pocket investor/owner.

  • Joe October 21, 2014 (6:21 pm)

    So if Sam closes the doors on Thursday to take out a bunch of shitty equipment that is broke and does not work, have fun.

    Knowing the land lord has a plan in place and will keep the gym going is great. Since that would mean new equipment finally I guess it would only be closed for what Thursday only since sometime on Friday, thats when the order or writ takes effect and possession will be the land lords.

    Just hope they keep the hourly folks in place, since they have been riding this storm for ever and are a big reason most the members are still there even.

  • rob October 21, 2014 (6:58 pm)

    Come on WS this calls for a crowd funding

  • Guy October 21, 2014 (7:42 pm)

    Gym Bob should buy it!

  • cupajoe October 21, 2014 (8:45 pm)

    I know that it has been mentioned before by another poster, but why doesn’t the YMCA take over this building? Better location, better parking, don’t need to spend millions on a renovation when they could spend far less to make this building suit their needs.

  • joel October 21, 2014 (9:05 pm)

    wow – it takes being behind 1.1 million in payments to just begin the eviction process? then the eviction process takes another few months…. If I owned the building I’d lock the doors and have an auction selling all the crap – even if it’s worth little I’d get something back. they will never see that 1.1 million and counting as the rent due continues to add up.

    • WSB October 21, 2014 (9:12 pm)

      No, this is not the start of the eviction process – it’s been under way for many months, off and on. We have reported on this extensively and exhaustively … first time, the proceedings were canceled after he paid some rent. Then there was a new filing, and just as that was about to get to the point of a potential eviction order, he filed for Chapter 11, which automatically “stays” the proceedings. After he didn’t make payments he was under orders to make in August, the landlord had to go back to both bankruptcy court and state court to get the eviction case reopened, and that’s what led to the early October hearing, at which time the October 24th deadline was set.

  • kate October 21, 2014 (9:38 pm)

    Hope new owner and landlord can remedy the shabby conditions of the club. Current owner was blaming the landlord and the club really started to go downhill around 2011.

  • AIDM October 21, 2014 (9:38 pm)

    Instead of building a whole new facility, the West Seattle YMCA should just try to buy this building and renovate it to fix the minor issues. There’s lots of space here and they could get great money for their current (condo haven) triangle location.

    • WSB October 21, 2014 (9:42 pm)

      The Y said they had looked into it but the club/property wasn’t/isn’t for sale.

  • brizone October 22, 2014 (12:48 am)

    Anything is for sale when someone offers the right deal. The landlord can’t seriously think there are many other deep pockets that would actually spend the money required to make this thing fly again, do they? Especially with the YMCA already known to be moving forward with their own plan, and other niche fitness centers popping up in WS?

    I had enough a couple years ago and got out. It was clearly going down the tubes. I miss the pool though (well, before that and the whirlpool had constant problems…)

    Surely the current land owner is getting tired of all this?

  • w.s. maverick October 22, 2014 (5:47 am)

    can’t believe its still there

  • kate October 22, 2014 (9:36 am)

    A U-Haul truck was there this morning. According to instructors, classes will be canceled Thursday-Sunday. Nobody knows when the classes will resume. Time will tell….

  • Mel October 22, 2014 (9:39 am)

    It’s pretty clear that the land owner has some sort of plan for building equity in their property. Of course, we’ve learned twice now that plans and execution are two completely different things.
    I’ll say it again, the BEST-case scenario is that the club gets shut down for a few months, millions in renovations are done, and it reopens under stable, proven management. What’s more likely is that someone else with big talk and 6 months’ worth of Other People’s Money takes over and does the bare minimum.

  • Cupajoe October 22, 2014 (10:00 am)

    So, if the Ymca has looked into the property that means they are interested. Maybe the timing was wrong earlier given the legal proceedings. Since things will possibly/probably change as of this Friday it seems quite possible they would reconsider. Their goal is to raise $11 million to renovate the current Y which they haven’t done yet. They could make a substantial amount by selling the Triangle properties and use those funds to remodel and upgrade the Allstar facilitiy and be better off financially as well as better off as far as location, parking, etc… The Club needs a long term, stable tenant to operate the gym. No more “fly by night owners.”

  • B October 22, 2014 (10:37 am)

    I am a member here. I was really hoping it would stay open just long enough until the LA Fitness opened. I’m totally bummed to hear this. There are not many other options in west seattle. Any other options really. UGH THIS SUCKS

  • Marcus October 22, 2014 (10:48 am)

    You know what say, don’t bite the hand that feeds you, stir up a bee’s nest etc.

    Well my name is Marcus, the membership manager at the gym. Everybody reading this who is current and former members that I have ever spoken with knows I have always been honest with you about everything I know that is going on.

    So apparently I am not allowed in the building the next few days, not even just to workout. The soon to be, well lets be honest former owner did not give me any reason why, so here I am.

    So a sign at the front desk said all classes are cancelled tell further notice. I know most members will see this and be able to spread the word. Looks like the 2 to 2.5 days are gonna be a big cluster f–k at the gym, but we will see better days starting once the takeover takes places on Friday sometime, which is I guess when I will be back. When you read all the info and statements that have been made by the landlord which is not much at this time which will change on Friday, looks like they have a great plan in place to keep it running, and probably just keep it for themselves this time so they can finally make some money which they have been loosing for years now. I read above about the taking stuff out, well if that is true then lets all be ok with that since it would mean new working stuff would be coming in. I mean, that right there is a win win.

    As soon as I am back sometime Friday, and know more I will do all I can to let everybody know the direction moving forward. I can only assume the landlord will look to keep all us hourly people in tack that want to stay. If they want me to stay, I am all in.

  • skierdave October 22, 2014 (11:13 am)

    I have been a member for 3 weeks. I new nothing about the gyms history. Now that I do I would probably not have joined. But I’m glad I did . I will be here everyday until it closes down. Yeh there is a lot of stuff that need to be taken care of but there are also a lot of positive thing that out weight the bad. I will hope for the best

  • sam-c October 22, 2014 (11:27 am)

    I can understand your anger Marcus, but that language… do your *&%^$%* work?

  • nichole October 22, 2014 (11:51 am)

    So what’s the easiest and most effective way to cancel my membership?

  • Amy October 22, 2014 (12:02 pm)

    So will the gym be closed Thur-Sun, or just classes will be canceled?

  • Amrakx October 22, 2014 (12:16 pm)

    Keep the Faith, the only certainties in life are death and taxes.

    I have been a faithful member since All Star Fitness.

  • david October 22, 2014 (12:32 pm)

    I hope you’re right Marcus. Props again to the staff that’s been so positive for the last few months!

  • Brooke October 22, 2014 (12:33 pm)

    ‘Sam C’ you’re a goof…that’s what you choose to take from Marcus’ helpful insight? I definitely do NOT work there but cannot think of a better way to describe the gym than how Marcus did either… obvious due to the fact that Mr. Adams is a complete goof as well… Runs with the name ‘Sam’ perhaps?

    Thanks Marcus for enlightening us all and for your transparency in general! Haters be hatin erry day;)

  • Marcus October 22, 2014 (12:34 pm)

    Under current rules on your agreements, its a 30 day notice based off of your billing date. Which needs to be done in person or by certified mail. I would say because of the change coming in a few days wait tell Monday, that way questions will be answered and if anything you know it was done under the new owner and nothing gets lost somehow in the next couple days.

  • Kimberly October 22, 2014 (12:51 pm)

    How can a business charge you a monthly fee when they are no longer providing the contracted services?

  • GUA8Avenger30Mike October 22, 2014 (1:32 pm)

    It’s called “failure of consideration” and is a defense to a collection on the contract. Unfortunately referral to collections result in a derogatory remark on your credit reports. Deciding to go to court over it leaves a customer with a permanent case number in collections. In this specific case there would be all the procedural rigmarole over getting relief from a stay in bankruptcy to pursue any counterclaim for violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other consumer protection violations. Worse yet: Article 1 Section 10 of the state Constitution (open public records) makes it nearly impossible to anonymize and seal a civil state court record. It is an unfair advantage creditors and collectors have in Washington because, correctly or not, a resisting “debtor” ends up marked for life with a case number. Public records to not “age off” your credit like standard trade credit entries or even bankruptcy.

  • MFlash October 22, 2014 (1:50 pm)

    I am jumping ship on this gym. For what I pay in membership – I could join 2 clubs. The building never should have been built on the wetland. I think I am done with the false promises….On to a more “healthy” club….

  • Mel October 22, 2014 (2:05 pm)

    Kimberly, you’d be flabbergasted at what gyms put in those membership agreements (if only any of us read them all the way through before signing). I once had a membership moved to a completely different part of town – apparently perfectly legal.
    With the landlord apparently taking ownership of the gym, I hope they do the right thing and shut it down completely for the time it takes to at least rip down the locker/shower areas to the studs and redo them, and replace the pump system for the pool/spa. That’s the minimum necessary go get to a baseline of sanitary operation.
    And as investors who know nothing about actually running a gym, I hope they hire and listen to a manager with a strong background who knows what he/she is talking about.

  • judy October 22, 2014 (2:31 pm)

    no wonder you look horrible yesterday Marcus, have fun enjoy the day off, lets all hope everything will be alright, and perhaps it will have new equipment, new pump system, new locker shower room?! (asking too much? perhaps not, a friend of mine went to northgate for gym because how crapy the gym is here, he cant take it but have no choice to drive to northgate) … it needs its update, and lets, the member in years, have faith (perhaps?!) it will be alright and will be able to enjoy the gym we used to love soon.

  • Dave October 22, 2014 (3:12 pm)

    There are signs posted at the front desk that the gym will be closed Thursday and Friday and will reopen Saturday. The staff was in the process of moving artwork and furniture when I was there earlier.

  • LazyFitGuy October 22, 2014 (3:22 pm)

    Let’s go Retro “clap, clap, clap”!!! I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see Retro Fitness take this place over! Somebody take out a loan and call Retro Today!!!

    • WSB October 22, 2014 (4:25 pm)

      Thanks to those who have forwarded us the e-mail blast sent out by the club today to tell members it’ll be closed tomorrow and Friday, reopening Saturday. Adding to the story above, too.

  • MJ October 22, 2014 (4:48 pm)

    Marcus!! Im so sorry bud. You were by far the most loyal employee at Allstar Fit. You deserve better than how they informed you. (no wonder you looked so upset by the smoothy bar this morning). I hope the new owners see value in you and your work ethic. If not, happy trails and I wish you happiness in the future.

  • Hugh October 22, 2014 (5:08 pm)

    Looks like their phones have been shut off as well. Or so many are calling to find out what’s up that it’s overloading the circuit. My guess is the owner of the building who appears to be taking over will get in there and see some of the repairs needed if for no other reason than to make the building attractive to another group who may want to buy and take it over. Perhaps if Sam Adams actually used his own club (and it was clear he didn’t) he might have had more passion towards making the club better?
    Anyway, this chapter in the club is closing and it’s probably going to improve.

  • Marcus October 22, 2014 (5:41 pm)

    Thank you Judy, MJ, Brooke and all those that want to see the gym where it once was. I am excited to see the brighter days for which all the members deserve.

  • Another neighbor October 22, 2014 (6:25 pm)

    To everyone asking why the YMCA doesn’t take it over, here’s why. The landlord is not interested in selling the property. True, “everyone has their price” but suffice to say his is very very high. What he did discuss with the YMCA was basically taking over the lease at an exorbitant monthly rate. As hard as it may be to believe, their multimillion dollar expansion really is the more affordable option for them.

  • Dave October 22, 2014 (7:16 pm)

    I’ll be impressed if the club is up and running by Saturday. Sounds like they would need a flawless transition for that to happen and that seems unlikely when one of the parties involved is being evicted.

  • Marcus October 22, 2014 (7:25 pm)

    Once again I would like to thank all those who have shared support, and continue to. I know there will be better days, and that you the members to see what the club return to what it once was. Thank you. Extra big thank you to those who wrote above and your support.

  • Paul October 22, 2014 (7:38 pm)

    Thank you WSB for staying on top of this developing story. I’ve been a member for 11 years. The club was wonderful for a long time and kept me fit and healthy. I’ve been thinking about terminating my membership and so will do this asap. Sad to see this happen.

  • CarraigNaSplinkeen October 22, 2014 (7:47 pm)

    If the future scenario has a good, clean pool with good times for lap swim then it will be a success. Gyms are gyms but good places for swimmers are hard to come by.
    We were members for years having joined for the pool—and stayed longer than we should have. Once it became clear that the pool was a cesspool, we ended our membership. The Y was NEVER an option for people who are swimmers.
    Hoping something good comes of this, but we will never be anything but month to month in the future having seen what happened with the original owner and his, well, embezzlement of club monies.

  • Louise October 22, 2014 (7:50 pm)

    Well, here’s hoping for all the best to you, Marcus, and to all of us who have continued to support the gym, myself included. It IS a great resource. If the owner can’t pull it off, I’m still in favor of crowd funding….

  • mozabo October 22, 2014 (8:04 pm)

    If the club is closed more than four days, I will call my credit card company to dispute the monthly fee they just charged on the 20th for lack of services.

  • sam-c October 22, 2014 (8:28 pm)

    whatever Brooke, LOL, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think I’m a goof or not. Looks like the WSB has gone the way of mainstream media and let any commenter say whatever the hell they like (this is a change, they once edited my comments that had fewer expletives) oh well, I’ll just stick to the stories instead of reading comments from clueless people….
    (and I left the gym long ago, before you sorry saps got caught up in this mess, so I don’t really care what is happening. the YMCA that I belonged to in the early 90s (in a different city) had better equipment than this place did)

  • Peter October 22, 2014 (9:25 pm)

    Phones are still working a/o 9 pm. I just talked to “Michael” at the front desk. He confirmed closed Thursday and Friday, and claimed they would be open again on Saturday. I didn’t press for more details.

  • Brian Wade October 22, 2014 (10:01 pm)

    I propose the membership organize & buy the building and run the operation for the health and betterment of the members. Private member owned clubs always seem to provide a greater level of service. I would be happy to pay a healthy initiation fee to be apart of a member run health club.

  • truthteller October 22, 2014 (11:39 pm)

    My crystal ball says 1,000 new mini apartment units with mixed use retail space aka, nail salon, Super Cuts, and a T-Mobile store. RIP West Seattle.

  • Thomas M. October 23, 2014 (7:10 am)

    You forgot about the “approved-and-therefore-adequate” 11 narrow parking spaces, for complex employees.
    The order for issuance of the writ called for no lockout prior to 10/24. The exit is business like, with no civil standby from the Sgheriff’s office necessary. Storage and removal of tenant’s stored property is covered by the Order. The Sheriff does zero without a Sheriff’s Indemnity Bond (one per case, and each has to be separately applied for and processed… I use State Farm, and theirs issue from Chicago). I think Puckett & Redford use Safeco. I don’t know who Evan Loeffler uses.

  • Seymore October 23, 2014 (7:36 am)

    Does anyone know when the LA fitness will open?

  • Jen October 23, 2014 (11:47 am)

    Is marcus still on here ? I’m very saddened by this news. I am part of the trx group and the trainers were so great there. I want to know if I should wait to join abother gym until they aren’t charging me? need a gym ASAP. Jenbronwyn@gmail.com

  • Marcus October 23, 2014 (4:57 pm)

    Hey Jen, I did shoot you an email. Also just for the rest of folks reading this unless something changes I plan on being at work Sunday, since the gym will be back open on Saturday according to the sign.

    Not to sure about what the state of the inside will be, we will all have to wait and see about that. I am sure as soon as the court order change takes place, we will all be provided with information about it all. I am guessing they have not done so yet do to legal stuff. Some people who are lawyers reading this can probably get more into that since I am not a lawyer and have no clue.

  • Mary October 23, 2014 (5:40 pm)

    Does anyone know who will be taking over and how the monthly fees will be handled? With a visa or checking auto draw will Sam be able to continue taking these fees. Thanks

  • Marcus October 23, 2014 (6:30 pm)

    The landlord is taking over, and the eft question about how it will all be set up I am not sure about, but we will know that in a couple days

  • JK October 25, 2014 (12:02 pm)

    Well, It’s Saturday, the gym is closed and they are there changing the locks. Hard to believe they are opening any time soon….

Sorry, comment time is over.