Rock Climbing Gym Coming to Medfield in 2018 as Union Collective’s First Tenant

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A shot of Earth Treks Crystal City, which opened in 2016. Photo courtesy of Earth Treks.

Charm City is getting its first-ever rock climbing gym in Union Craft Brewing’s new planned local retail complex in Medfield.

Earth Treks Hampden, as it’s named on the company’s website, will be the first and only dedicated climbing gym to set up shop in the city limits. The location will be Earth Treks’ third in the Baltimore area, joining two already operating in Timonium and Columbia.

The facility, slated to open in 2018, will fill a 20,000-square-foot space in a warehouse at 1700 W. 41st Street recently bought by Union Craft Brewing. The gym will have 10,000 square feet of terrain for bouldering, a form of climbing that doesn’t utilize harnesses or ropes. Also on site will be a yoga studio, “functional fitness and cardio zones,” training areas and a retail shop.

Woodberry-based Union Craft is expanding into an adjacent space located about a half-mile away from its current headquarters. Adam Benesech, one the brewery’s co-founders, said the idea to bring in a climbing gym came up during a conversation with development partners. After someone mentioned Earth Trek as a possible tenant, they set up a meeting.

“It became very clear that this would be a great fit going both ways” after one meeting, he said. “We saw incredible synergies between their community and the community that we attract as Union…The craft beer community, either they’re already rock climbing, or they want to be rock climbing and they don’t know about it yet.”

That beer-rock climbing synergy should be particularly strong here, with Union Craft moving into a brand new 51,000-square-foot brewery and taproom next door. The company announced last week that it’s leaving behind its home of six years down on Union Avenue for the W. 41st Street warehouse at the edge of Hampden and Medfield.

In addition to moving to a new location that will enable the brewery to triple its output (at a minimum), the company also announced its collaboration with Seawall Development Co. to build the Union Collective.

The 10.5-acre location is designed to attract Baltimore-area makers and small business. It has about 138,000 square feet of warehouse space, with room for eight tenants. Union Craft’s announcement described it as “an interactive and collaborative assembly of several of Baltimore’s growing independent businesses.”

Earth Treks will start construction on its newest gym in November. The Hampden-Medfield outpost will be its first bouldering-centric location and its seventh overall, adding to its roster in Maryland, Virginia and Colorado.

“Earth Treks has served Baltimore-area climbers since 1990 and we are thrilled that at long last we’ll be opening our first gym in the city,” said Earth Treks founder and CEO Chris Warner in a statement. He also mentioned the “synergies between the climbing community and craft beer community, which made this development and partnership the perfect fit for us.”

The company is moving fast with the news. In addition to the aforementioned webpage, it also has a Facebook page up and running to keep Baltimore’s eager climbers up to date on new developments.

As for other businesses coming to Union Collective, Benesech said the brewery expects to make more announcements in the coming weeks. “We’re working hard at finalizing leases with several of the other tenants,” he said.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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