Bouldering instead of beer, Adventure Rock plans new Walker’s Point gym

Would purchase, renovate Milwaukee Brewing Co. building

Adventure Rock plans to purchase Milwaukee Brewing Co.'s building at 613 S. Second St. in Walker's Point.

Last updated on August 27th, 2019 at 04:45 pm

Adventure Rock plans to open a bouldering and fitness facility in the Milwaukee Brewing Co. building in Walker’s Point.

The climbing gym operator is seeking a $500,000 loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. for the $2.2 million project, which will include purchasing and renovating the facility at 613 S. Second St.

Milwaukee Brewing is moving out of its Walker’s Point building and into its facility at 1128 N. 9th St. in the Brewery complex.

The gym would be Adventure Rock’s third location in the Milwaukee area. It opened its first location in Brookfield 20 years ago. In response to the sport’s growing popularity, Adventure Rock opened another location, at 2240 N. Commerce St. in Milwaukee, in 2016.

Both facilities have seen “tremendous success,” and grown faster than anticipated, said general manager Craig Burzynski.

“The growth of the sport of rock climbing has been exponential,” Burzynski said. “People really seem to be attracted to climbing as a form of physical fitness. It’s physically challenging, mentally challenging and also very community oriented.”

A new gym in Walker’s Point would allow Adventure Rock to reach new clientele and provide more room for existing members, he said. It currently has about 3,300 members.

“We wanted to be in an area that was exciting, that was growing, that was diverse and would still be within our range so all members can utilize all of our facilities,” Burzynski said. “We looked in the Walker’s Point, the Third Ward area, and walked into this building and it’s a cool building.”

Unlike traditional rock climbing facilities, the new gym would be focused on bouldering, which involves climbing shorter routes that are closer to the ground, along with climbing training and yoga. The Milwaukee Brewing building is about 15,000 square feet.

Adventure Rock is now seeking to raise its “last bit of financing” for the project, Burzynski said. The MEDC loan committee will review its loan request this week.  If all goes according to plan, it would take about a year to complete the project, Burzynski said.

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