BIZNOTE: 24 Hour Fitness permanently closes Westwood Village gym

11:52 AM: Hours before last night’s nearby shooting, we got a couple of tips that equipment was being moved out of the 24 Hour Fitness gym in Westwood Village. We inquired with their media-relations department via phone and email. Still no reply – but members just forwarded this communication from the company:

After many years of serving the West Seattle community, we are sorry to say that we were unable to reach an agreement with our landlord and have had to permanently close our West Seattle Active club.

The company had previously announced more than half a dozen other club closures in the region, but this one wasn’t on that list. An online search turns up a bankruptcy-court document from October involving unpaid rent, noting that the club’s rent was almost %50,000 a month.

2:33 PM: In case you wondered, before this, WWV had nine other open spaces available for lease.

34 Replies to "BIZNOTE: 24 Hour Fitness permanently closes Westwood Village gym"

  • Jort December 18, 2020 (12:03 pm)

    I will admit I have a hard time understanding this. I’ve been told, repeatedly, over the years, that the number one key success factor for a business is the amount of plentiful, abundant free parking that the business has. A former political candidate even boasted on their website that free car parking was one of our West Seattle’s special “unique qualities” that must be preserved! And here we see 24 Hour Fitness (and a host of other businesses in the Westwood Village) with more free parking than has literally ever been fully occupied at any one time, but the businesses aren’t succeeding? Perhaps there is more to a business than its allocation of “free” parking spaces? 

  • Rent December 18, 2020 (1:26 pm)

    That rent sounds crazy right now. I’d close the door too. Landlords and tenants of all sizes need to be sensible in the middle of this pandemic.

    • David December 19, 2020 (3:13 pm)

      Louis Rossmann had a good point about this in one of his YouTube videos: In one of the less-corrupt “first world” nations elsewhere, a court declared that a commercial landlord couldn’t demand the same amount of rent – because they were no longer providing the same considerations.
      The value of the space is largely decided by how convenient/desirable it is for customers, and thus an opportunity to make money. No store would pay $50k a month for a few thousand square feet of space on a deserted island, right?
      The landlord (to be fair, through no fault of their own) is no longer able to provide what they’re charging $50k a month for – good access to customers who can come in and spend money.
      But since the US has its own version of the Golden Rule (those who have the gold make the rules), courts will probably uphold demands for the full rent… despite the fact landlords can’t hold up their own end of the bargain.
      If they want to charge $5k a month for storage space, that would seem inflated but theoretically reasonable. But not $50k a month for a location with good access to customers, when they no longer have the ability to provide it*.
      * – Again, through no fault of their own. But consider: Would you support a landlord replacing a store that burned during a wildfire with a storage shed, then continuing to demand $50k a month, on the basis that it’s not their fault and the contract didn’t explicitly include a copy of the building plans?

  • Tomas December 18, 2020 (1:44 pm)

    This is the gym I’ve been going to for over 5 years.  Yeah it’s a bit ghetto but the location was extremely convenient.  I’m once again surprised that the management of the mall, with so much space empty can’t come to some agreement with 24 hour fitness.  Don’t even get me started on not working with Barns and Noble on their lease and replacing it finally but with a Dress Barn or Kohls or some other discount retailer.  Common guys, what are you thinking?

    • WSB December 18, 2020 (1:47 pm)

      Ross (the former B&N).

      Still looking up how long 24 Hour Fitness has been there. I was a member many, many years ago. No later than mid-’90s, I’m fairly sure.

      • Drew December 18, 2020 (3:13 pm)

        That space housed another gym before 24 Hr Fitness.  I recall going there as a guest sometime in the early – mid 90’s.  A World Gym maybe?

        • Darrin Shilley December 19, 2020 (2:19 pm)

          Its was called Harts. Been going there off and on. For 30 years. 

      • StopCuttingDownTrees December 18, 2020 (3:49 pm)

        24 Hour Fitness took over this location from Hart’s Athletic Club in late-2001. Hart’s used to close at 11pm and one night while I was there they didn’t announce their usual closing warning. I asked the front desk clerk when they were closing and she said “we’re 24 Hour Fitness now”.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees December 18, 2020 (2:02 pm)

    24 Hour Fitness is simply using the rent situation as an excuse. They declared bankruptcy months ago and a second wave of gym closures was on the way. The Westwood Village location is one of their “Active” level gyms. They are eliminating that level in order to keep their more-profitable “Sport” and “Super Sport” clubs open. They closed their call center and members can’t reach anyone, at any level, via phone. Managers at locations in states without COVID closures have been ordered not to discuss the company’s future. It’s impossible to cancel memberships now as there’s no one to contact. I had my bank issue me a new debit card with new numbers so 24 Hour Fitness cannot charge me for dues anymore. What they are doing to members is criminal.

  • BBILL December 18, 2020 (2:52 pm)

    Where are all the people who claim that rentals are immediately filled up? I guess society needs Section 8 for commercial properties, or something. Maybe, just maybe, finding tenants who have sufficient ability to pay rent when so many people are without income isn’t as easy as many suggest.

    • AMD December 18, 2020 (3:24 pm)

      Residential and commercial real estate markets are completely different, BBILL.  I agree with you that there’s no factual basis behind the claim that residential properties will be able to fill up immediately with new, paying tenants at this point.  But the rules are different for commercial properties so this is not a good comparison.  

      • BBILL December 18, 2020 (4:34 pm)

        During the “Financial Collapse,” a period that began circa 2007, both commercial and residential markets were impacted. There is some commercial real estate properties that have not recovered since that time, and in terms of finance, a decade is a long time. I will agree, however, that I’d need to do much more work to compare and contrast the two markets. What is a the same is both commercial and residential tenants without income cannot pay rent.

  • WS resident December 18, 2020 (3:59 pm)

    $50,000? You could have a gym next to Whole Foods for less. At least the size of 24 hr. No wonder Westwood is a ghost town. Don’t the landlords realize they are losing a sh-t ton of money, with so many empty spaces, when they could negotiate even somewhat and keep tenants. All corporate stuff going in. 

  • warren trout December 18, 2020 (4:13 pm)

    Gyms almost always close without notice. What a scam. I’ve saw a gym signing up people for a year prepay on a Friday and went out of business on Saturday

  • Also John December 18, 2020 (4:23 pm)

    I believe Barnes & Noble left bc their rent was pushed to $70,000/month?        I really enjoyed that place with Star Bucks.

  • Graciano December 18, 2020 (5:08 pm)

    I can see the vision, bulldoze the whole place, retail on the ground level and apartments above. 

    • Beepee December 18, 2020 (6:36 pm)

      Yes, it will look just like north gate, then bam some time later everything closes. 

      • East Coast Cynic December 19, 2020 (10:59 am)

        When the Kraken start up in Northgate, presumably later next year, their practice facility with three ice rinks,  will probably draw enough of a crowd to the mall to create a very vibrant business climate for it.I wish the Westwood Mall owners were creative enough do something similar.

    • El'Jefe December 21, 2020 (9:53 pm)

       Your right, likely where it’s headed.  Might take a bit of work since I think that whole area is a giant bog.

  • Nwem December 18, 2020 (6:51 pm)

    Maybe the landowners are using the empty spaces as a write-off. It’s a shame there are so many empty spaces. 

  • Kyle December 18, 2020 (7:42 pm)

    Agree that Westwood village property mgmt could do a lot more to attract/retain tenants or. It’s also true the 24 hour fitness has abysmal customer service and has its own corporate governance problems. The real folks who lose are the West Seattle residents who no longer have a gym they can walk to etc.

    • AMD December 19, 2020 (7:04 am)

      There are a couple great independent gyms just up the street in downtown White Center.  The Boxing Gym Westside has an online-only membership that’s cheaper than a regular membership and allows you to participate in classes from home (in addition to in-person offerings, when those are allowed).  They also offer memberships on a sliding scale for lower income clients, and family discounts.  FitBody Solutions was founded by a couple former trainers from 24 Hour Fitness (if I recall correctly) and is on 98th in White Center next to Bok a Bok.  Not sure what their COVID adjustments have been, but they’re definitely worth checking out.  There’s no better time to support your locally-owned gyms!

  • flimflam December 18, 2020 (7:52 pm)

    seeing this post earlier, i knew there’d be some members that got ripped off via this closure.

  • Ben December 19, 2020 (12:38 am)

    It doesn’t help that WWV is owned by an out-of-state company. I tried to contact them about trying to do some stormwater mitigation to clean up Longfellow and couldn’t get anyone on the phone to call back. I wonder if they’d sell? Anyone got experience running a co-op? 

  • MJ December 19, 2020 (8:07 am)

    Really really sad to see this fitness club go and see other unrelated business take over the space. I don’t mind other fitness take over but not other retail stores. I’ve been in this club since it was Harts club then 24 fitness. 

  • Trickycoolj December 19, 2020 (1:45 pm)

    Sounds like some deep diving needs to be done on be WWV ownership. What else do they own? Are they spiking up rents and playing hardball at their other properties? Trying to empty out the place to sell to a big developer a’la Northgate (they lucked out with the NHL but still). For those of us not conveniently located near the junctions WWV serves as a huge commercial hub. Target and QFC have both remodeled… what gives?

    • AMD December 19, 2020 (3:36 pm)

      Target owns the land it’s on (and much of the adjacent parking lot in front, and behind).  It is not owned/managed by the same company as the rest of WWV.  Westwood has always felt (to me) like it’s just SO CLOSE to being a great shopping center but just can’t quite get over the hump.  I moved to the area while Gottschalk’s was still there, before the new Rite Aid, etc.  Every improvement to the shopping center feels like the start of something new and great, but pedestrian pathways  through the parking lot are counterintuitive (where they exist), the parking spots and travel lanes are too tight in some places to easily navigate with a car (near Marshall’s), the connectivity with transit is finally good but that has been a mixed bag itself, and the restaurant selection there (with a couple exceptions) has largely been a revolving door.  Would be nice to see the center fill the vacancies, but on the other hand, it’s been in worse shape before and there’s a long-term trend toward improvement, so I wouldn’t be ringing the death knell just yet.

  • East Coast Cynic December 19, 2020 (2:37 pm)

    There may be a few vacant places in WWV, but from what I see as a resident who lives close by, the parking areas are filled with a lot of cars on a daily basis, not all are employees I take it.  The mall doesn’t appear to me to be on life support from all the traffic going into it.  Yes, it is a valuable consumer hub for people who don’t live by the junctions.

  • dcn December 19, 2020 (2:37 pm)

    This is hearsay, but I’ve been told that the owners of WWV also own U Village, which has (or had, pre-pandemic) close to 100% occupancy. A certain percentage of vacancy is good for tax purposes, so the owners put that burden on WWV by hiking rents to unreasonable levels for the area, while U Village stays nearly full. I know Dress Barn was driven out years ago by a ridiculous rent hike, and heard the same about B&N. I’m amazed that Staples and Bed Bath and Beyond are hanging in there. I’m hoping that after the pandemic, with all the growth in the South Delridge area, that WWV will get some new tenants, and not become a ghost mall like Northgate did.

    • WSB December 19, 2020 (3:22 pm)

      Though it is hard to tell in the tangled world of finance, so far it does not appear WWV and U Village share either an owner or a manager. UV has a local partnership as owner, WWV has a Delaware corporation as owner. WWV is managed by Madison Marquette, but UV is not

    • StopCuttingDownTrees December 19, 2020 (4:33 pm)

      Barnes and Noble closed many of their locations at the exact same time because the company was and still is struggling. They based that decision on sales volume per location. The Westwood store had low book sales.

      • AMD December 19, 2020 (5:52 pm)

        It does bear mentioning how many of the tenants in WWV were parts of chains that failed nationally (Hollywood Video, Barnes & Noble, Gottschalk’s, Payless Shoes, Radio Shack, etc.).

    • HS December 20, 2020 (8:02 am)

      They own Pacific Place. I’m not sure ownership of UVillage is accurate.

  • David December 19, 2020 (3:43 pm)

    Decades ago in the South, I saw an ad for apartments in a building near my work in the middle of downtown – and was eager to check it out despite the high price, because it looked like a castle. It seemed odd that the rental agent “didn’t have time” to go to the building and just gave me the keys, but okay.
    The hallways and courtyard were suffering obvious neglect. Then I got to the actual apartment, which showed ample damage from the previous tenant and their pets, and was puzzled by what sounded somewhat like a light drizzle falling. Within a couple of minutes I realized what I was listening to, from the constant flickers of motion and dozens of bites starting to itch: The aggregate sound of hundreds if not thousands of fleas jumping at the scent of a meal.
    Later, I found out the building’s owner had to keep up appearances – but was letting things fall apart to get the last tenants to leave, discouraging most people with the high price, and making the rest (like me) run for their lives. Apparently he was after the payoff of selling it to be developed as commercial space.
    Given the grossly-inflated housing market in Seattle, a cynical person (like me) might wonder if the same is happening here, but in reverse.

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