Health House owners facing suit from Village Shops landlord for $140K in back rent

Prairie Village's Health House was the last of the brand's dedicated rowing studios in the Kansas City area after the company's original Leawood location closed down earlier this year. File photo.

Health House, a fitness studio focused on rowing-based workouts, closed its location in the Prairie Village Shops last month.

Now, the landlord that leases the space is suing the company and its Los Angeles-based owners for nearly $140,000 in back rent.

In a lawsuit filed in Johnson County District Court last month, GRI Prairie Village, LLC, sued Health House and its owners, Jonathan and Melanie Knopke, for $139,632 in back rent.

GRI Prairie Village also sued for repossession of the 5,000-square-foot space that had previously housed the Tiffany Town card shop for nearly 50 years.

Health House started in Johnson County

Health House was founded by Jonathan Knopke in Leawood in 2016. The company is still registered in Kansas, though it no longer has any active locations in Johnson County.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Jonathan Knopke attended Rockhurst High School and Rockhurst University and lists himself as CEO of Health House.

Health House’s concept is to offer a variety of rowing-centered classes designed to burn calories without taking a major toll on the body. The Post covered the opening of the company’s Prairie Village studio when it launched in 2017.

The Prairie Village location closed in November, and Health House’s other Johnson County location at Town Center in Leawood also closed earlier this year, according to a local manager.

At the time of the Prairie Village studio’s closure, the local manager cited challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and told the Post the Knopkes were “going to go with more of the at-home model in the future instead of the studios.”

The Knopkes opened a Health House studio in West Hollywood, Ca., last year.

Health House in California has an active social media presence and has posted updates on its Instagram account in recent days, promoting upcoming virtual at-home workouts and socially distanced in-person workouts on the roof of the West Hollywood studio.

The Post reached out to the Knopkes and their lawyer for this story and has yet to hear back.

PV space ordered repossessed

GRI Prairie Village is a subsidiary of First Washington Realty, the Maryland-based company that owns The Shops of Prairie Village, along with shopping centers at Corinth Square and the Shops at Fairway.

The Post has also reached out for comment from First Washington and the lawyer representing GRI Prairie Village but has not heard back.

The judge in the case late last month ordered the Health House space in the Shops to be repossessed and turned back over to GRI Prairie Village, an order that was stayed until Nov. 30.

The Kansas City Star reported that negotiations are underway to bring a new tenant to the space, though Health House signage remains up on the exterior.