Gym Worth Saving
The gymnasium in Ocean City at 67th Street employs 15 people, six are full-time employees. The gym has 400 local members and attracts many more in the summer. Like most Ocean City businesses, it is seasonal. The town has purchased the gym property for a healthy full price of approximately $1,270,000 from Wells Fargo Bank, which had foreclosed on its owner Pete for failure to pay back taxes. Councilmen Mark Paddack, John Gehrig and Matt James along with Councilwoman Mary Knight voted to lease the building back to the 67th Street gym. Mary Knight said she had been a member of the Ocean City Health and Racquet Club south of Route 90 until it had suffered a similar fate forcing her to take her business to Powerhouse Gym in West Ocean City. The decision by the council to lease the gym back averted an eminent eviction.
Mark Paddack along with John Gehrig had spearheaded the effort to save the gym. Recently Mark Paddack negotiated a lease rent and terms for the gym pending final approval from the council which was not given during the regular or closed session on Tuesday.
The rent from the gym was proposed to be equal to the town’s carry cost on their debt plus a little bit more at about 3.65% of the purchase price annually or about $3,760 per month. Since the city is uncertain when it will build the water plant scheduled for the site, the rent will be month to month with the gym paying two months in advance. A liability policy will be required.
Mark Paddack said, “the lease would be month to month, the city would get its loan cost of funds, the tenant would be responsible for the building, up to 15 people would keep their jobs, 400 local members would keep their membership money in Ocean City and Ocean City businesses in the adjacent shopping centers would still get business from the gym, this is a win-win situation.”
In both closed and open session on Tuesday, Lloyd Martin, as president, refused to bring it up for a vote saying the rent should be more even though the gym indicated they couldn’t afford more.
I had started a petition to stop the sale of the building to the city. Both myself and Vince Gisriel believed the city had other properties that they owned where they could locate a water facility and that this was a waste of money. However, during the time the petition was alive I had no trouble getting signatures but was asked by Pete and Todd at the gym to stop the petition because they were in talks with Mr. Paddack to rent the building.
Unless the city agrees to the lease, the gym, the local jobs and the local business will be lost. The 400 members will likely take their business across the bridge to Powerhouse Gym in West Ocean City.