New indoor climbing gym planned for Fort Collins

FORT COLLINS – If all goes as planned, Jon Lachelt’s eight-year dream of building a climbing gym in Fort Collins will become a tangible reality this fall.

That’s when Lachelt and his partners hope to break ground on Ascent Studio Climbing, an 18,000-square-foot gym slated for 2121 Timberline Road.

The gym’s owners held a neighborhood meeting on Monday letting area residents and businesses know that they are applying for a major amendment with the city’s planning and zoning department that would allow the new building to be 50 feet tall at its peak.

Developers in the mid-2000s had gotten a site plan approved for the Timberline Center area that allowed buildings up to 36 feet. But Lachelt said he’s received positive feedback so far, and planning staff has recommended approval, though there is no date set to go before the planning board.

Aside from getting through the city process, Lachelt said the design of the gym still needs to be finalized before work can begin. He’s hoping, though, to be open by the end of next summer.

“We’re not going to rush it through because we want the building to be really great for our use,” said Lachelt, who was a software engineer for Hewlett Packard for 28 years. “It’s very fun. We’ve been getting a lot of support from the local climbing community and people outside.”

Ascent, which will sit north of the Fort Collins police department, would join the gyms at Inner Strength Rock Gym and Miramont Lifestyle Fitness North, plus a wall at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins’ indoor climbing scene.

The Ascent gym’s wall will be about 47 feet tall at the highest point, decreasing to about 37 feet with the roof’s pitch. In addition to climbing and bouldering, the gym will include yoga and weight training areas to allow climbers to use the gym as a one-stop fitness shop. It will also feature a separated climbing area that can be used for birthday parties or classes, or simply for beginning climbers who want to be in a quieter area or with a small group.

“That will be unique here in town for sure,” Lachelt said. “Not too many places have a separate area for birthday parties and classes to climb in.”

Lachelt, who has four partners, said the project will cost about $3.5 million, including land. The group is under contract to purchase the 1.3-acre piece of land.

The architect for the project is Joe Hosek of RB+B Architects in Fort Collins. A builder is yet to be chosen.

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