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Old Uptown Borders Will Soon House a Bouldering Gym (PHOTOS)

By Josh McGhee | September 16, 2015 5:50am | Updated on September 16, 2015 12:57pm
 First Ascent will be the first tenant at 4718 N. Broadway since Border's left in 2011.
First Ascent will be the first tenant at 4718 N. Broadway since Border's left in 2011.
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

UPTOWN — First Ascent likely will open in the former home of Borders Bookstore by the "very beginning of December," according to owner Jonathan Shepard, citing estimates for contractors Tuesday morning.

"We haven't committed to a date because city permits end up taking longer than you think," said Shepard, pointing to the process he just completed opening a First Ascent in Avondale, a six-story climbing gym that took five years to construct.

Shepard, one of four founders, said there have been some delays in construction in Uptown, but the plan was always to open the Avondale gym (which the company considers Logan Square) and roll out the second gym a few months later. Unlike the Avondale location, the Uptown gym will be a bouldering gym, a form of climbing without ropes or harnesses, Shepard said.

The 14,000-square-foot gym will feature 10,000 square feet of bouldering walls ranging from 15 to 18 feet tall, a yoga studio, cardio and weightlifting equipment, Shepard said.

The gym will be on the second floor of the building at 4718 N. Broadway, which was formerly occupied by Borders. The area, in what is planned to be Uptown's entertainment district, was perfect because of its distance from the Avondale location and the unique layout of the building, Shepard said.

"The building has big glass windows you can see from the street or the train. It's like a billboard for climbing in general and introduces you to our gym," Shepard said. "We really wanted to grow the climbing community some."

Check out renderings of the gym below:





[Photos courtesy of First Ascent]

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