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.

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Chris
Chris
6 months ago

I honestly would not be mad if LA Fitness bought it out.

blueeyedboy
blueeyedboy
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris

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… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago
Reply to  blueeyedboy

It needs to close….to draw a different crowd to that area.

Observer
Observer
6 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

What is your definition of “different”?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
6 months ago

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.

Eric Jon Schmidt
6 months ago

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… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago

LOL

DD Donelly
DD Donelly
6 months ago

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.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 months ago

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.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago

It would be great if it closed. Need to clean up that part of town.

Steve
Steve
6 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

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.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve

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.

Steve
Steve
6 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

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

cody warlock
cody warlock
6 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

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.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago
Reply to  cody warlock

It’s not a ghost town…..just seedy and needs to attract a different crowd.

Jake
Jake
6 months ago

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… Read more »

blueeyedboy
blueeyedboy
6 months ago
Reply to  Jake

If anyone from 24 Hour is following this pleeeease give us more squat racks!

Jason
Jason
6 months ago

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… Read more »

blueeyedboy
blueeyedboy
6 months ago

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.

Sam
Sam
6 months ago

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.

blueeyedboy
blueeyedboy
6 months ago

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.

Guy Iippe
Guy Iippe
6 months ago

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.