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October 16, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Webster Bank exercises its right to sue White Plains landlord over upstairs gym

The thud of weights, the amplified music and the odors emanating from the gym above Webster Bank’s White Plains office is just too much for the financial institution.

The bank’s beef is not so much with the Crunch Gym at 1 N. Broadway, but with the landlord, WPP Owner LLC.

As the signs on the building indicate, Webster Bank’s offices are below Crunch Fitness in White Plains. Photo by Bob Rozycki

Webster sued WPP Owner for breach of contract on Dec. 28 in Westchester Supreme Court for allowing the exercise of bodies to disrupt the exercise of business.

The Waterbury, Connecticut banking company wanted to establish a presence in a high-traffic, high-visibility area of White Plains in 2010 and rented the ground floor on Broadway from White Plains Plaza Realty.

The bank set up an ATM machine, but the location is not a retail branch. The offices are used for advisory services, business meetings, negotiations, administrative matters and other work.

In 2012, Plaza Realty leased the floor above the bank to Fitness Holdings LLC for a Crunch Gym.

The building rules, Webster said, prohibit use of apparatus that transmit sounds and vibrations or creating “objectionable odors or vapors.” The landlord should have known, Webster said, that a gym would generate such disruptions.

Webster sued Plaza Realty in 2014 for breach of lease, and in 2016 a settlement was reached. By then, WPP had taken over the property and was party to the lawsuit.

WPP is affiliated with Ivy Realty in Greenwich, which also owns an adjacent building at 275 Main St. that houses a Walmart. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

WPP, the new complaint states, agreed to abate the disruptions. But the disruptions have continued.

The boom of dropping weights shakes windows, dislodges interior plate glass walls and has allegedly caused employees and clients to “duck and recoil.”

The amped voices of instructors, loud music and the thud of people jumping and moving in exercise classes have interrupted business meetings and conference calls.

Sprinkler caps have popped. Dust falls from the ceiling tiles. A picture has fallen off a wall and an exit sign has crashed to the ground.

Noxious odors, the complaint states, emanate from above. Discolored water leaks from pipes. Carpets are water damaged and ceiling tiles have “foul-looking brown stains.”

Webster Bank claims that some areas of the office are unsafe and uninhabitable. The conditions are intolerable, it said, and “unfit for a corporate office building.”

The bank is charging WPP with breach of lease, breach of contract and “constructive eviction.”

It is demanding a refund for rents back to August 2016.