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Town Sports International Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Will Keep Gyms Open

A New York Sports Club on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed one of the largest fitness chains in the Northeast into bankruptcy.

Town Sports International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but will keep all its locations in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, New Jersey and Philadelphia operating according to local reopening laws, the company’s letter to members released Monday states.

“Town Sports intends to use the Chapter 11 process to engage in further discussions with their landlords and other creditors to successfully restructure their debts to best position the Company for long-term success in the current fitness industry environment,” the company said in the letter. “Restructuring is the best way to properly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the long-term goal to emerge as a thriving powerhouse in the fitness industry.” 

Established in 1973, Town Sports now has over 150 locations across the Northeast with over 56,000 members, according to its website.

Its gym brands include New York, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia Sports Clubs, along with Lucille Roberts, Total Woman and Around the Clock Fitness.

In an email to Washington Sports Club members Monday, the company said it would credit its members with 45 days worth of membership dues to offset the period the gym was closed in March and April.

“The company stated that we would take care of all members when the clubs reopened,” the email stated. “WSC is honoring that commitment now … we want to demonstrate that although times have been difficult we will move our business and brand forward in a positive direction.” 

Town Sports was among the monthly membership sports club-model brands to have taken a hit in recent years as a fitness culture evolved. Before the pandemic closed them down, gym-goers increasingly opted for either gym amenities in their apartment buildings and workplaces or specialty gyms such as SoulCycle. Now, many customers have turned to Peloton and other at-home fitness tools to avoid the gym entirely.