24 Hour Fitness Said to Be Considering Filing for Bankruptcy

24 Hour Fitness at 8612 Santa Monica Blvd.

24 Hour Fitness, the San Ramon-based company that owns one of West Hollywood’s best-known gyms, is said to be considering a filing for bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy filing isn’t certain according to sources interviewed by CNBC, which first reported the company’s possible bankruptcy filing. However, CNBC reports, “The chain is grappling with a heavy debt load, deteriorating performance and a coronavirus pandemic that forced it to shut its more than 400 clubs.”

Gyms across the country have been forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, President Donald Trump is said to be considering including gyms and fitness studios in a list of businesses that would be first to open if the federal government rolls back its pandemic enforcement measures.

The West Hollywood gym, located at 8612 Santa Monica Blvd. just east of Westbourne Drive, has been especially popular among gay men in WeHo. However, in recent years it has drawn criticism for taking too long to repair broken equipment, ending its free towel service and not dealing efficiently with customer service issues like failure to quickly refill toilet paper and soap containers.

It has remained popular in part because it is one of the more affordable gyms (with memberships for as little as $35 a month) in an increasingly expensive city where a membership at Equinox can cost $300 a month and a membership at Monarch Athletic Club ranges from $1,250 to $2,000 a month (including related health services).

The 24 Hour Fitness space once was home to West Hollywood Sports Connection, a gym whose history was chronicled in a 1983 Rolling Stone story by Aaron Latham about singles life there. That story inspired the movie “Perfect,” written by Latham and starring Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta.

“In the story, Latham described an incident where Borkin and a male friend drew a crowd by getting into a busy romantic clinch on the trunk of a black Mustang in a Sports Connection parking lot,” says a 1985 story in the Los Angeles Times, referring to actress Leslie Borkin.

Eventually, Sports Connection evolved into a gym where gay men were known not only to work out but to engage in sexual behavior in the steam room and jacuzzi, which the owners of 24 Hour Fitness transformed into co-ed facilities.

CNBC reports that 24 Hour Fitness is working with investment bank Lazard and the Weil, Gotshal & Manges law firm to consider its next steps.

    1. This gym was originally the Beverly Hills Sports Club (maybe more than 50 years ago, I’m told), then it was the Sports Connection. Until just the last 5 or 6 years it was a great meeting place, where “everybody knew your name” and there was very little turnover in staff. But then SOMETHING happened, and I can’t put my finger on what it was. A series of managers who were unpleasant and even homophobic (I know some members left because of that), a constant turnover in staff, messy locker rooms, signs in the locker rooms with warnings of behavior and even dress codes (IN THE LOCKER ROOM!), and the ending of towel service have all been indicators of impending doom. We need a gym at this location, but one that will cater to the uniqueness of West Hollywood and not one that will operate just like the one in Branson.

  1. The problems at 24 Hour fitness stem from bad management, poor maintenance of facilities and equipment (including wretched filth) and crappy customer service. The same issues that plague many failing businesses.

  2. I personally like to work out at home, but West Hollywood needs a gym. It’s one of the few non-drinking places for people to meet in West Hollywood. I know a gym is supposed to be a place to work out and some of that does take place at 24 Hour Fitness, but it’s also a place to say “hi” and catch up with friends between sets. It’s very important psychologically to the community to have places like this. It’s a positive, self-confidence building, encouraging and mental health recharging place to go. Whether a person works out super hard or just there to maintain their current condition, the benefits of going to the gym are many. Even if members just go there to socialize, that’s fine too. It’s very important to the community. If 24 hour fitness closes, I believe the City should step in, buy it and hire a experienced management company to run it. It could become part of the Parks and Recreation Department. I realize it all depends on the landlord and what he/she chooses to do with the property. As a student of Sociology, I know that going to the gym is a very important social outlet in addition to a place to exercise. The positive energy, interacting with others, the feeling of “re-charging” has many positive benefits. Another option for the City if 24 Hour Fitness closes is to buy the car wash on SMB and Palm, tear it down and build a gym in that space. The car wash is loud, unattractive and it’s a great location for a gym. If the City owned it, they could keep the fees to a minimum to cover operating expenses. The City owes the Residents a gym, especially after recklessly spending so much money on the new pool and park.

  3. Unfortunately, closing this location was in discussion prior to COVID due to decrease membership and increase in rent. This pandemic may be the final nail in the coffin.

  4. It would be tragic if 24 Hour Fitness closed. It has been and continues to be an important factor in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of West Hollywood residents. It is not just a gym but a community institution. For all its’ shortcomings it has provided a safe and affordable place for all members of the community and it one of the last egalitarian gathering places left in West Hollywood. The closing of 24 Hour Fitness would be a huge loss to this community and would mark a definite end of an era.

    1. Clean up that part of town? Sprouts, Shake Shack and plans for developing the pet store on the other side of the block indicate that neighborhood is doing fine.

      1. A burger joint, grocery store…..and a redevelopment of a building falling down are not note worthy. The area is seedy and not on the radar of most WH residents.

        1. Seedy? Some of the architecture might be dated, but you’d be hard pressed to find others that would call it seedy.

        2. That area isnt seedy. Give me a break.
          Starbucks is always crowded and so is Trader Joes. Stop acting like that area is a ghost town.

  5. My advice to 24-hr Fitness is to stay confident. This is what you can do: while still under lockdown and despite lack of revenue, use available credit lines or borrow against asset to renovate and install brand new equipment, possibly rebrand and use this lockdown as an opportunity to get this done. By the time you open up, offer 1 month free to new customers and credit existing customers all the months they paid for while under lockdown. Within months, you all will be fine. However if you let people come back to those stinky gym and ailing equipment, especially as gyms will see surge after lift of lockdown, be prepared to lose half of your customers.

  6. Problems for 24-hour fitness began well before COVID 19. My son and I were members for approx 6-7 years and starting early last year, the majority of their locations were no longer open 24 hrs. I found that to be unacceptable; especially when the name of the gym implies services will be available 24 hrs a day and the major reason we joined. They tried to justify the policy change, by keeping a select few locations open 24 hrs. The problem is, the few locations still providing 24 hrs access were in moderate to high crime areas. So we canceled our memberships, along with a large group of friends who were also members.

  7. Bankruptcy doesn’t always mean going out of business. It provides an opportunity to renegotiate obligations in order to stay in business. Perhaps there is a reader who knows more about the process and can comment.

  8. I hope that 24 Hour survives. It serves so many members of the community, both straight and gay that have been going there for decades.
    And of course it is also the most reasonably priced gym in the area (Crunch might be the next price point at $90/month) and it’s loss might mean a lot of our lower income people being squeezed out.
    This may sound shallow but in my experience gyms all over provided a source of a social life – both within and outside of WeHo and the queer community.

  9. If 24 Hour goes under or if the site is replaced I can’t imagine that someone wouldn’t come in and open another gym to fill the void. The demand would be high. It appears, by observation that a big part of their membership are neighborhood people who walk in from their homes.

    By the way, I can remember when Sport’s Connection had a nude sundeck.

  10. Rumor is that there are plans with the city for months about tearing the entire structure down and putting up condos. I believe the person that owns the building sprouts is in also owns this whole strip as well. Anyone who works for West Hollywood planning know anything about this? Well I don’t go there myself I would hate to lose a gay landmark in the middle of town that’s affordable for a lot of people.

        1. They extend your membership for a month when you finally decide to terminate your membership. As if you’re going to remember this five or ten years from now. See below for what you can do to not terminate (I hope) your membership and still get a refund for the month they were closed. Fees are being waived after about April 15th I believe.

    1. If you use Auto-pay and file a dispute with your bank for that first month of non-usability you may get a refund. Just explain why you’re disputing the debit in the explanations section. I did this and it worked.

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