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The Journal Gazette

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019 1:00 am

Gym moving into Electric Works

Sport Wayne to have Olympic climbing wall

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

Electric Works won't be able to offer visitors an ocean for swimming, but developers say it will include a wall for climbing.

Sport Wayne Inc. has signed a letter of intent to lease about 30,000 square feet in the $248 million development, where it will open a state-of-the-art climbing gym and adventure park called Rush Rock Gym, officials announced Monday.

The local organization will also place its headquarters and administrative offices in the former Building 36 on the western edge of Electric Works' West Campus.

The gym, which could open as soon as this fall, is expected to create 15 to 20 jobs.

Corey Ford, Sport Wayne's president and CEO, said the location just south of downtown is well-suited for his business needs.

“The building is perfect. It looks like it was built for climbing,” he said in a statement. “We love the space in the building, the location near downtown and the energy surrounding the development. It's an ideal fit in every way.”

Sport Wayne will offer about 30,000 square feet of climbing space, including an Olympic-sized speed climbing wall. Plans include dedicated areas for parkour, rappelling, zip lines and bouldering, a form of rock climbing.

Ford, the father of a toddler with a baby on the way, also plans to create a family zone where young children will be able to play safely. 

Sport Wayne was the nonprofit organization behind the Fort Wayne Adventure Games, a citywide scavenger hunt, of sorts, that required teams of two to bike around town to various locations where they completed adventures including zip lining, obstacle courses, swimming and climbing.

The competitions were held in 2015 and 2016 but were put on hold while Ford developed the climbing gym. He said Monday during a phone interview that he's looking forward to restarting the event.

Rush Rock Gym will be a for-profit venture.

Other organizations that have committed to leasing space in Electric Works include Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corp., Parkview Health, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Indiana Tech and Medical Informatics Engineering.

Electric Works is a two-phase, mixed-use development with 1.2 million square feet of space for office, educational, research, retail, residential and hotel uses.

RTM Ventures, the developer, also has designated space on the 39-acre site for various entertainment venues.

The former General Electric campus is expected to attract evening and weekend visitors in addition to a steady stream of employees working in offices based there.

The project is considered a quality-of-place enhancement for the region.

Economic development officials often lament Fort Wayne's lack of access to oceans or mountains. Developments such as Electric Works are designed to provide an equally attractive alternative.

Jeff Kingsbury, a partner in RTM Ventures, said Sport Wayne is an ideal fit for the campus.

“Health and wellness are core parts of the community vision for Electric Works,” he said in a statement, “and Sport Wayne's presence will be important in promoting recreation, fitness and play on the campus and throughout the region.”

sslater@jg.net