After Madonna and Mark Mastrov and company unveiled the club at a Nov. 29 ribbon-cutting, reports surfaced that the club may have to be shut down because it lacked the proper permits, mainly for land use and the parking lot. (In the photo in that link, that's Mastrov in the middle, with New Evolution Ventures co-founder Jim Rowley to his immediate right.)
Mastrov says it was not a big deal. The club was in fact closed for a period last week, but that was to take down all the signage and other special set-ups in place for the big media event. The day after the event, a Mexico City official came by the club to ask about a permit, and it took about an hour to retrieve it, Mastrov says.
"I can't think of a club I've ever opened where you don't have somebody come in saying, ‘I'm not letting you open for another day because we want you to do this or that,'" Mastrov says. "It's the power of the city official who always finds something that they want you to do. This city official really just wanted to have a press conference and say that Madonna's club is going to be delayed in opening. Actually, it was delayed about 60 minutes. We weren't even opening that day. It was just a publicity stunt, but we got a kick out of it."
While she was in Mexico City, the 52-year-old Madonna taught a dance class for a few hand-picked members. No small feat, considering high-altitude Mexico City sits at 7,350 feet above sea level.
"She wiped everybody out," Mastrov says. "It was amazing. She flew in, and she went hard for 40 minutes and wiped people out who were young kids in amazing shape. She outlasted them all. She walked out of there barely breaking a sweat. She's an unbelievable athlete. Her conditioning is just phenomenal. If you put me in that class at 7,000 feet for 40 minutes, she'd kill me, too."
It appears Mastrov will need to keep his passport handy. He's scheduled to be in Moscow next Monday for the announcement of a new Hard Candy Fitness club. One of the partners in the Moscow club is Irina Razumova, founder of the Russian chain Planet Fitness (not to be confused with Newington, NH-based Planet Fitness).
The Moscow Hard Candy Fitness is scheduled to open next March, permits permitting.