Kristin and Yishai Horowitz have spent the past 15 years building rock climbing gyms on the Central Coast, and their latest project could be the most exciting one yet.
The SLO-Op Climbing co-founders began developing their fourth gym in June — at 888 Ricardo Ct. in San Luis Obispo — and hope to have construction complete in December.
“We’ve had some hold ups,” Yishai Horowitz said, “but we’re on track now.”
The Pad Climbing is about 14,000 square feet, nearly four times the size of SLO-Op Climbing on Prado Road, and 13,000 square feet of that space will be dedicated to bouldering and rope-climbing sections.
Horowitz said the new gym cost about $1.8 million — a far cry from the first iteration they built for $8,000 inside a self storage unit — and will include a space for traditional weight lifting, two yoga studios, a separate kid’s area and locker rooms, making the largest facility of its kind in the county.
Unlike SLO-Op Climbing, which is a 501c7 nonprofit organization, The Pad Climbing is a regular S Corporation, which allowed the Horowitzes to work with investors and obtain a small-business loan.
“But with that we also hired on a bunch of people,” Horowitz said. “It’s more of a full-scale operation.”
Horowitz expects to employ about 30 people when the new gym opens, including yoga instructors, climbing instructors, a full-time route setter, an outreach coordinator and front desk staff, among others.
SLO-Op Climbing, which has about 1,300 members around San Luis Obispo County and Santa Maria, will close its doors for good about a week before The Pad Climbing officially opens.
Horowitz said some of the previous equipment will be brought to the new location and incorporated into the recently purchased items.
“We have everything that you’d need,” Horowitz said, “and as we progress we’ll get more stuff and figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
Walltopia, a Bulgaria-based company considered to be the world’s leading climbing wall manufacture, has been in San Luis Obispo for the past six weeks installing the new climbing walls, Horowitz said.
Those interested in checking out the new space will have the chance to do so during The Pad Preview Block Party and Reunion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
“We’re using it as just like a preview party,” Horowitz said. “You can come in, current members can get excited about what the place looks like.”