Kelley and Tim Babcock were confident the loud thuds causing their china to shake in their Casa Costa condominium were coming from their upstairs neighbors.
Figuring the three women were exercising, they decided to ask them to be more courteous when dropping loud weights.
When the neighbors didn’t answer Tim Babcock’s knock on the door, he left a note with his contact information. About 10 minutes later, the women showed up at the Babcocks’ door.
“Did you put this on our door? The reason we didn’t answer is because we were at (Unit) 711 asking them to stop dropping weights on the floor,” Kelley Babcock remembers one of them saying.
Babcock said the group laughed — but then they realized a possible culprit.
“At that moment my husband said “Oh my God, this is a bigger issue. It’s CrossFit.”
Casa Costa, formerly known as Promenade, on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach is a retail development with views of the ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, and businesses on the bottom floor, including CrossFit Chrome. Workouts feature aspects of weight lifting, gymnastics, running and rowing.
Residents who lived in the condos before CrossFit opened have complained to the property management company and each other about the noises they hear from dropping of weights below them.
In June, the condo association filed a lawsuit against the CrossFit tenant and the retail space owner.
Residents say it sounds like one boom, followed by two thuds. Some have started a message group where they email one another when they hear the sounds, and some — like the Babcocks — record the noise.
“Thuds are growing even heavier with wine glasses tinkling in my cabinet,” wrote one resident Aug. 12.
And they’ve gone to the landlord of the retail spaces, PRH Boynton Beach.
Residents say a sound-proof floor was installed, but they still hear noise.
Condo owners claim the sound travels up the building waking them up in the morning and disturbing them in the evening, violating the association’s governing documents. They also say they worry about the vibrations causing damage to the building.
“When the weights drop the result is a sound like a loud crash, that then results in vibrations throughout the condominium tower,” the lawsuit reads.
Arden M. Karson, senior vice president at The Related Group and PRH, said the lawsuit is “meritless.”
“Since 2013, we have made it our goal to create a lifestyle hub for the entire city. We’ve been excited to bring a strong mix of commercial tenants to not only generate economic development for the city, but also to add an amazing live-work-play lifestyle for the community,” Karson said in a statement. “CrossFit Chrome adds to that lifestyle offering, and we know many residents of Casa Costa and the community at large enjoy the gym and its services.”
Similar tales of residents frustrated with the sounds of CrossFit gyms have been reported around the country.
In a 2015 article, the Observer reported a CrossFit gym located underneath a condo building in Chelsea, N.Y. spent $250,000 to install a drop ceiling with special sound-abating insulation to appease residents. Other CrossFits turned to new locations.
An attorney for Health Buddy LLC, which owns CrossFit Chrome, said the business prides itself on being a good neighbor and doesn’t violate the condo association’s governing documents. The company “categorically rejects these claims and will mount a vigorous defense,” Attorney Kevin Bennett said in a statement.
The business hasn’t been cited for noise or other violations by a governmental agency or the condo association, he added. And, the owners reached out to the condo association to see if a cooperative resolution could be reached, the statement reads.
“Health Buddy believes the evidence will show that it has been victimized by a campaign designed to destroy the business by interfering with Health Buddy’s relationships with its members, the Casa Costa Condominium community, its landlord and the Boynton Beach community at large,” Bennett wrote.
Resident Fred Branovan wants the gym to relocate.
“At the end of the day this is not a good place for a CrossFit to be located. Why? Noise. I think CrossFits are meant to be located in their own warehouse location,” he said.
John Charshafian said the situation didn’t have to develop to a lawsuit.
“A lot of us were hoping Related would just say ‘hey look we made a mistake here and we’re going to relocate CrossFit to another location’. That was I guess the fantasy hope that they would do something like that,” Charshafian said.