The Equinox fitness chain, which faced boycotts this year after an owner hosted a fund-raising event for President Donald Trump’s reelection, is set to open its first Philadelphia location at the Laurel tower rising beside Rittenhouse Square.
The high-end health club, based in New York City, will occupy nearly 7,000 square feet on the first three floors of the 48-story tower at 1911 Walnut St., according to lease documents filed with the Philadelphia records office.
The chain’s current closest locations are in North Jersey, New York, and the Washington area. Equinox had long been rumored to be eyeing part of the Laurel’s 25,000 square feet of lower-story retail space, but Nashville-based developer Southern Land Co. in the past denied it was in line to be a tenant.
Some club members, including celebrities such as the writer and model Chrissy Teigen and the comedian Billy Eichner, announced that they were boycotting the chain over the fund-raising lunch for the president held by shareholder Stephen Ross, founder of the Related Cos. property group.
Brian Emmons, a manager with Southern Land, said Monday that he did not expect any association with Ross to weigh on the project in Philadelphia, a city whose politics generally run counter to Trump’s.
“At the end of the day, he’s one of [many] shareholders in the company,” Emmons said of Ross, who is also an owner of the SoulCycle and Blink Fitness chains, which have locations in Philadelphia.
Emmons declined to share any additional details about the club’s plans at the Philadelphia tower, which is also to include 60 condo units and 184 apartments. The building is expected to be completed in 2021.
Equinox did not respond to an email.