Form Fitness told the leave after failing to pay rent | November 25, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 25, 2022

Form Fitness told the leave after failing to pay rent

City orders gym to pay about $500,000 or vacate Bryant Street building

by Gennady Sheyner

After more than two decades in downtown Palo Alto, Form Fitness now appears to be entering its final stretch.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by Judy Hall
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 25, 2022 at 9:31 am

Judy Hall is a registered user.

An Unlawful Detainer (eviction proceeding) is filed when a tenant is not paying their rent. No different than any other commercial or residential rental.

The site could easily be used for other programs and businesses (municipal or private).

Posted by Annies biped
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 25, 2022 at 10:58 am

Annies biped is a registered user.

What an opportunity for the city! It could rent the bottom floor to La Comida, the Palo Alto Senior Nutrition Program, for $1 per year just like it rents the 450 Bryant Clark Building to Avenidas, the Palo Alto Senior Center for $1 per year. Both senior programs would be located very close to each other, something that would be advantageous for all Palo Alto seniors. The city could rent the top floor at market rate to a business or businesses thus helping to fund the youth programs. What a win win situation for all involved!

Posted by Barbara Gross
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2022 at 11:58 am

Barbara Gross is a registered user.

The gym has been an important asset to the community. Landlords defrayed income during the pandemic crisis. Gyms were hardest hit. Work it out!

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 25, 2022 at 12:14 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

A few questions: 1) Why did the city reject the city council's recommendation for the Saffron Club restaurant, 2) who is the preferred new tenant they want instead of Form Fitness), 3) what if anything does this have to do with the city's new push for a city-owned NEW gym and its support for replacing retail/restaurants with even more gyms? 4) does the city even know that the gym that replaced Anthropologie on Alma is now vacant and looking for tenants?

Finally, why can't the city abide by the rules it forces on commercial landlords>

The first suggestion to put in non-profits is a good one. As is the suggestion to convert it to housing to meet our absurd housing goals.

Maybe our "leaders" can show some creativity for a change.

Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2022 at 4:09 pm

rita vrhel is a registered user.

Sounds like the "Friends" could try and raise the necessary money for the gym if they want it to stay.

565 people out of, I believe, Palo Alto's estimated 66,000, is actually not a lot of support.....similar to people signing up for PA's proposed fiber network.

The City needs, IMO, to manage their property to the benefit of all taxpayers and residents. I believe there are plenty of fitness centers in the area.

I support the suggestion about La Comida. They should, however, be housed in Avenidas since Avenidas is paid by the City to provide senior nutrition services on site. This has been a source of contention for several years ever since Avenidas' expansion and remodel. This really is shameful and needs to be settled.
Thank you

Posted by Morgan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 25, 2022 at 8:52 pm

Morgan is a registered user.

It's fairly well known that the owner of Form Fitness is, at times, acted in an unprofessional, odd, and irrational manner towards the members of the club and the employees.

There are members and employees that were treated poorly and kicked out of the gym or fired for no reason.

As for the petition's offer of 15% of revenues, how much does the gym make per month? In order to cover the approximate $43k in rent the city can make on that site, the gym would need to bring in around $290K/month. How many members does Form have? Golafshan is only offering 10% which means they would need to bring in $430K/month. Or is he just hoping not to pay as much in rent, period?

So, Golafshan would like to forgive past rent and also reduce future rent?

If Golafshan wasn't paying rent for the past year or so, what did he think was going to happen? He seems to want to have all of the benefits but isn't even willing to sit down and seriously discuss options.

How many Palo Alto residents are benefitting from this "public benefit"?

Posted by Tom DuBois
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 26, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Tom DuBois is a registered user.

Just to be clear the rent from this building IS dedicated to teen programs (the article was vague about that). As the former Bryant St Teen center, when it was developed into a parking garage and a building, the building rent goes to pay for a lot of teen programs in the city. Without that rent, our teen programs suffer.

Posted by Morgan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 26, 2022 at 9:34 pm

Morgan is a registered user.

@Tom DuBois
Thanks for the extra info. However, why would the city allow one delinquent tenant to deprive the youth of the city from programs that could use the money?

If this were a privately owned building, I doubt they'd allow this to continue as long as the city has. It was mildly understandable if one was to assume that the city was trying to help out Golafshan in a time of need and no one was really being impacted. However, if that money is earmarked towards programs that truly have a public benefit, it makes no sense to let it drag on for so long.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Nov 27, 2022 at 12:08 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

"It makes no sense to let it drag on for so long."

Everything drags on. It's Palo Alto. Why? Overanalyzing and overthinking, which leads to hesitation and inaction. Sad.

Posted by Barbara Gross
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2022 at 1:36 pm

Barbara Gross is a registered user.

Form Fitness is a small business, operated by a local resident. This affects real people. Since income from the rent is dedicated to a specific use, renting to a non profit for below market rate wouldn’t make sense. As an aside, Avenidas was mentioned as an opportunity to raise revenue for the city - do you understand the city does not not fund services for seniors - and that is their contribution for having those services in our community.
I go back to private landlords were asked to make sacrifices during the pandemic - some did and some didn’t. Raising the rent for Form Fitness during the recovery period seems disingenuous and frankly deleterious to the process. What a poor standard the city sets for the business community.

Posted by Moctod
a resident of University South
on Nov 27, 2022 at 4:20 pm

Moctod is a registered user.

Form fitness is the the last general-use gym left in the University Avenue area. It the present owner needs to declair Form Fitness bankrupt, then I am very sorry, but so be it.

However, walk over and take a look at the building if you have a real interest in this issue. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been put into the structure to make an excellent ADA compliant gym. The changing rooms, accessible showers and bathrooms, banks of a few hundred lockers, excercise classrooms, mirrored walls with handrails and floor surfaces make for a "turn-key" gym that could be leased to another operator. The elevator is well inside and it would take a considerable amount of time and expense to convert this building to another use.

Palo Alto needs a gym downtown and we should all consider that if this facility closes, our residents will need to drive to other facilities, none of which are within walking distance.

Over just the last ten years I have watched retailers and servives that the local residents use be driven out of the University Avenue area by high rents. Remember University Art? How about Stanford Electric? There was also a sporting goods store, stationary shop and a few bars that the locals loved. All are gone or have moved out of Palo Alto. Another drive our residents must take from a city that speaks so loud and often about car emissions.

A local gym is an undeniable positive for the physcial fitness of our residents. Should the city of Palo Alto join our wealthy landlords and try to squeeze out the last dollar in rent from this location? I hope that they will consider the need for a gym here when they are caculating the rent they (actually, we) will charge for the Form Fitness building.

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2022 at 6:28 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

Our City Manager and management is a joke. No longer a funny one.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2022 at 5:54 am

Annette is a registered user.

Reviving an old plea: bring back the like button. If it existed, I would give a thumbs up to the posts by Barbara Gross, Moctod, and S. Underwood. The long view/big picture are consistently overlooked and there's tremendous inconsistency in the messaging that comes out of City Hall.

Being committed to the SCAP goals requires local goods and services. Justifying car-light development and pedestrian oriented districts hinges on public transportation. Going electric requires a robust and reliable electrical grid. Being committed to public safety requires full staffing in PAPD and PAFD. And being committed to the health of the community requires certain types of space, including open space and gyms.

Ideas, thoughts, lofty goals, the annual priority list, etc are all fine and dandy, but also pretty much pointless if not matched by action.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2022 at 7:57 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I agree with Annette to bring back the like button. I would call it an agree button and only available to registered users perhaps registered users who have been registered for over a month.

Otherwise, we can spend time putting together our thoughts, typing a good comment, and then the echo chamber is silent. We have no idea if we are alone in our opinion or if a few others share the opinion.

I think there is a value in knowing that others do agree with us. When it comes to certain articles, such as perhaps announcing a candidate for a vacant space on a board, the feature could be removed for those certain articles.

Posted by jaclyn schrier
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2022 at 1:37 pm

jaclyn schrier is a registered user.

Please be welcome to read -- and sign! -- the petition mentioned in the article at Web Link

Form Fitness is a special place. Beyond providing a super gym, Sassan Golafshan has built a community. Many would feel its loss.

We urge the city and Sassan to work out their differences. A downtown should have a gym. It's only a matter of time until fitness facilities recover and it would be a shame to lose this jewel.

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