Nick in the AM: Climbing gym proposed for Warehouse District – News – Journal Star

An indoor climbing and fitness facility is projected to open next summer in Peoria’s Warehouse District.

A building at 927 SW Washington St. that once housed an industrial-fabrication shop is to play host to walls as tall as 50 feet, according to a news release. The walls are to accommodate various forms of climbing.

The facility also is to feature a full gym that includes cardio equipment and free weights, yoga and other group-fitness classes, and space from which visitors can work.

About 20,000 square feet of floor space and about 14,000 square feet of vertical climbing surface are planned. An addition to the existing structure, for rope-climbing walls, is to be built.

“It does have the potential to be really something special,” said Kim Smith, a senior urban planner for the city.

The name of the facility is not yet public, according to the release.

The facility seeks to capitalize on the popularity of rock climbing, which is to be included as a new sport in the 2020 Olympics. It’s geared toward all ages.

Part of the building is to be dedicated to bouldering, a recently developed rock-climbing form that eschews the use of ropes or harnesses. True to its name, bouldering entails scaling boulders or other rock formations of up to 20 feet.

“It creates a second home for families and friends to connect and engage in activities that are inherently positive,” the release stated. “We have been working on this for multiple years and in our research, we have seen how a climbing gym can positively transform a local community and spur on significant development in the area surrounding it.

“We love Peoria and are excited for that to happen here.”

Almost all the climbing-gym owners are local, the release stated, although the number was not listed and none was identified by name. The non-local owner is considered a leading expert in the climbing industry, according to the release.

Mark Bell, who lists a Peoria…

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