By Tom Mustin
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A giant rock climbing facility could bring a much needed boost to the economy in Englewood. The Earth Treks company is counting on Colorado’s outdoor and fitness community to climb aboard.
It’s the newest fitness craze sweeping the country — indoor rock climbing.
“It’s a great place to be if you can’t get outside, and the community is really lovely,” climber Lillia Jackson told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
Now the city of Englewood is counting on the craze to fill the void left behind after Sports Authority declared bankruptcy.
The Earth Treks company leased the Transportation Security Administration’s abandoned corporate headquarters off of Hampden Avenue — 52,000 square feet that will soon house the country’s largest indoor rock climbing gym.
“When TSA left I think they had 900 employees between the north and south buildings,” said Seth Murphy, the director of Earth Treks’ Golden facility.” I think it left a vacancy in the community itself.”
Earth Treks has climbing and fitness facilities in Maryland, Virginia and Colorado.
Murphy said on busy days they see more than 1,000 people.
“People in Colorado work to live, they don’t live to work.
“We have everyone from four and five year olds to 77-, 80-year-old members here. I think it’s a really good place to kind of rally the community.”
The city of Englewood, and real estate investment firm CBRE, which leased the property, believe the much bigger Englewood facility will be a huge draw — attracting fitness buffs from across the metro area — and bringing a fresh infusion of jobs and money to the city.
“This is a great re-use that is going to bring a large amount of people back to the space, said Jeremy Ballenger, CBRE’s Senior Vice President of investment properties.
Now Englewood is hoping that if they build it, more climbers like Jackson will come.
“It’s a good way to be distracted into your exercise, which is nice. You work really hard, and you don’t notice it because you’re having a lot of fun,” Jackson said.
Earth Treks expects to build several more facilities in Colorado. Construction on the Englewood facility will begin in August. The center is expected to open by the end of the year.
LINK: Earth Treks