He says New York Fitness had been given the option of a rent freeze A top health club which stunned its 1,000 members by announcing a sudden relocation following a dispute over its rent was offered the chance to stay on in its current premises with no increase in rent, its landlord said yesterday. New York Fitness told members it was merging with Asia21 Health Club last week after negotiations for a new lease at its Hollywood Road location - where it has been for seven years - failed. The club has told its members to transfer their accounts to another club, hAL on Queen's Road. Susie Misini, one of the owners of New York Fitness, said Provost Estates Ltd, which owns Kinwick Centre, requested a rent increase of about 25 per cent at the start of the negotiations. Ms Misini wanted a rent reduction in light of the recent economic slowdown. However, Patrick Sun Kai-yit, director of Provost, said the highest rent increase the company demanded was 19 per cent, which is one of the first offers it made last November. 'We had a reason for the increment because times were better and we had an offer from a restaurant which offered an even better rate,' he said. About two weeks ago, the offer dropped to a 5.1 per cent rent increase. And the latest offer came last week, when the landlord decided to keep the rent the same. 'We've been chasing after them for the past six months,' Mr Sun said. 'We, as a landlord, have been very eager to keep our tenant.' Mr Sun said they were in final talks with a furniture store to take over part of the 929 sq metres of space to be left vacant by New York Fitness. He said he was also speaking to a restaurant owner on a possible lease for the rest of the area. New York Fitness had been an anchor tenant at Kinwick Centre since 1996, when the building first opened its doors. Ms Misini declined to comment on Mr Sun's remarks yesterday.