The Central club is merging with another gym - and some members say they are not happy about the move A top health club has stunned its members by telling them it is moving out of its Hollywood Road premises and merging with another gym on Queen's Road. The owners of New York Fitness merged with Asia21 Health Club last week after they failed to reach an agreement with their landlord, who had raised the club's rent. It is the latest in a series of closures by leading health clubs in recent years. The owner of the Kinwick Centre, where New York Fitness has been based for seven years, was seeking a rent increase of about 25 per cent. The club had requested a rent decrease, according to Susie Misini, one of its owners. 'In times like these when every business is given some form of rent reduction - particularly in the past three months because of the Sars issue - we were given a rent increase,' Ms Misini said. 'The economic condition in the last 12 months has made it very difficult to pay such high rent.' About 1,000 New York Fitness customers, most of whom are month-to-month members, will be able to transfer their accounts to Asia21 Health Club, a one-year-old gym with a few hundred members. The merged club, on the 22nd floor of New World Tower 1, will be called New York @ hAL. Ms Misini said she would transfer 80 per cent of her staff to the new location. 'I'm not happy about this,' said a 39-year-old member of New York Fitness, who has been paying $500 a month to work out for the past year. 'The reason I joined this club is because of location and privacy. Now they have a lousy location.' He said he would join another gym closer to his home. New York Fitness told members about the merger last Wednesday via fax, email and telephone. 'We immediately notified our members of our decision,' Ms Misini said. 'Most members are not totally enraged.' The club had been in negotiation with the landlord for a lease renewal for about eight months, she said. Ms Misini requested a rent decrease because business dropped 25 per cent in the wake of the September 11 attacks. New York Fitness has no other branches. It has been an anchor tenant in the Kinwick Centre office building since it opened in 1996, occupying about 10,000 square feet on the first and second floor. 'We would like to be here very much,' Ms Misini said. 'But we can't increase membership fees in order to meet the demand of the rent.'