Long-Delayed Crunch Gym Pushes Back Opening
The gym, at 842 Lefferts Ave., began luring in fitness enthusiasts over the summer with an "Early Bird" special, promising $10-per-month memberships with a $20 initiation fee.
But the franchise's owners were hit with a stop work order from the Department of Buildings in June because they had not applied for a special city permit to open a gym — and construction on the former ice cream factory has been stalled since then.
"I paid to be a member of Crunch Gym last June," said resident Karen Fleming, who said she was told then that the gym — which will feature personal training, group classes, tanning beds and massage — would open in August. "When I went there when they said it would open, they were gone."
Fleming and other residents aired their concerns at a Community Board 9 meeting Tuesday night. At the meeting, representatives of the gym asked for the board's support for the physical culture permit the gym needs from the Board of Standards and Appeals to move forward with construction.
"You’re now asking for permission to open the site when you already took community money," Fleming said.
Eric Palatnik, an attorney representing the Crunch Essential franchise, did not provide a reason for the delay during Tuesday's CB9 meeting, and Crunch's corporate communications office did not immediately respond to calls and emails for comment.
Even after being shut down by the Department of Buildings last June, the gym did not apply for the physical culture permit until Oct. 21, records show. The Board of Standards and Appeals plans to weigh in on it in "the first couple months of 2014," BSA Executive Director Jeffrey Mulligan said in an email.
Once the gym receives the permit, construction will resume, but the soonest it could open is June 2014, Palatnik said.
"It does not have a hearing yet at the Board of Standards and Appeals," Palatnik said. "If we get the approval sometime in early spring, they’re prepared to complete construction and hopefully open in June."
Frustrated fitness buffs have vented on the franchise's Facebook page, particularly after the gym pushed back its opening in an Oct. 2 announcement about the "unforeseen delays with regard to some permitting issues with the city."
"I need a refund," Linet Marie Adams-Holder wrote on the Facebook page last week. "I signed up almost 6 months ago! Ridiculous!