A financial settlement has been reached between the owner and landlord of the Bel Air Athletic Club, scheduled to close Feb. 16, after a judgment was issued against the owner for more than $3 million in back rent.
According to Harford County District Court documents, the tenant, listed as Starmark Camhood II, LLC of Greenwood Village, Colorado, failed to pay the landlord more than $2.6 million in rent between April and December of last year. The landlord is listed as SNH Well Properties GA-MD LLC of Newton, Massachusetts.
The club was required to pay just over $350,000 in rent on the first of every month, according to court documents. A Jan. 13 ruling ordered the tenant to pay the landlord a total of about $3.1 million in back rent.
According to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the office’s civil process unit recently served the club with a failure to pay rent notice. The notice was filed Dec. 12. No additional paperwork has been filed with the sheriff’s office.
The club’s website says it is owned by Wellbridge, a private company that shares the same Colorado address as the tenant listed on court records. In a statement to The Aegis on Thursday evening, Starmark Camhood II, L.L.C./Wellbridge, operator of the Bel Air Athletic Club, said:
“As previously announced, the COVID-19 shutdowns and their continuing, lingering effect on the on the health and fitness industry nationally created an unsustainable business environment for the Bel Air Athletic Club. While Wellbridge and its Club teammates worked to push the business back to profitable levels, those efforts were ultimately unsustainable. The club will close its doors permanently on Thursday, Feb. 16.”
“The Club and the landlord reached a financial settlement on rent,” a Wellbridge spokesperson said Thursday evening.
News of the closing was met with shock and regret by club members and others in the community.
Marge Purvis said she somewhat expected the Bel Air Athletic Club to close as an aftereffect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a shock in a way, but not really,” Purvis said.
The 93-year-old woman has been a member of the club for about 20 years, and goes there to swim about three times a week.
“When I come, I love it around this time,” she said around 11 a.m. Wednesday, sporting a gray Bel Air Athletic Club T-shirt.
The club, located at 658 Boulton St., features a gym, fitness classes, a pre-K program and pools. Now, Purvis, like many others, must find a new gym to go to when the club closes.
While the closing has generated an outpouring of sadness and support on Facebook, it is also expected to have an impact on the community at large.
Harford County Council Vice President Tony Giangiodano called the closure “heartbreaking” during the council’s Tuesday night legislative session. He’s been going to the club for more than 40 years.
Bel Air Town Commissioner Paula Etting said she was “surprised to hear the Bel Air Athletic Club was closing.” A member for decades, Etting said the club was a great resource for the community.
Maria Lorenzo, the club’s hospitality manager, said she was “devastated” the club was closing.
She said it was “more than a club — it was a family for everyone.”
Christi Boyle, a club member of 15 years, said she was shocked to learn the club is closing.
“I figured after they survived COVID, there wasn’t really a concern,” Boyle said.
Boyle exercises at the club daily and previously sent two of her three kids to preschool there. She said club members are like friends and family.
“I feel lost, to be honest,” Boyle said. “It’s been a staple of our community in every aspect.”