A climbing/fitness company is making a splashy arrival in Dallas, with two locations opening in 2020. Called Planet Granite, it's a California company that specializes in climbing, yoga, and fitness facilities.
The second Dallas location will open at The Hill, the mixed-use center at Walnut Hill Lane and US-75, where it will take over the space most recently home to Candytopia, and before that, TreeHouse, the green home improvement company.
In a statement, Robert Cohen, CEO at El Cap, which is Planet Granite's parent company, says that they chose the Design District because of how unique and vibrant the community is.
"Our goal is to accentuate the diversity of activities already in the area by creating a place for people to come together and share their passion for adventure through climbing and fitness," Cohen says.
Planet Granite was founded in Santa Clara, California in 1994 by Micky Lloyd as a place dedicated to climbing, at a time when climbing facilities were rare. A climber himself, Lloyd helped design and build the facilities, with features such as textured boulders and overhanging walls.
The climbing world has since exploded: According to the Climbing Business Journal, today there are more than 500 gyms in the U.S. dedicated to rock climbing, plus hundreds more impromptu climbing walls in rec centers and retail stores.
Planet Granite currently has four locations, all on the West Coast — San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Belmont and Portland — while its sibling companies Earth Trek and Mountain Gyms have another dozen locations in Central U.S. and on the East Coast.
Spokesperson Tori Barnett says that Dallas has been on their list for some time. "Dallas has people in search of adventure and are fitness-minded, and love to be part of a community," she says.
Planet Granite is not your typical fitness center, she says.
"Some people seek it out because they're training for something outdoors," she says. "But indoor climbing has become a sport in and of itself, and we're there if you're wanting a day-to-day place where you can learn a new sport."
In addition to bouldering and climbing terrain on 50-foot walls, amenities include a yoga studio, functional fitness and cardio zones, training areas, fitness and climbing classes, and a gear store.
There are weights and cardio equipment such as stationery bikes, stair-climbing machines, ellipticals, and treadmills.
So it's like a climbing center plus a gym.
They also take an eco-friendly approach on elements such as the use of garage doors for ventilation, reducing the need for AC; and skylights and windows, to reduce the need for lighting.
So it's like a climbing center plus a gym plus an environmentally conscious business.
Barnett says that a key part of the company's ethos is to create a sense of community, working with local organizations like the fire department and hosting events for kids.
"You can definitely come in and do your workout and leave, but at our facilities, people will bring in their laptops — we have community spaces, high top tables — and work for a little while, then climb, then go to a yoga class," she says. "People spend half a day. If your friends come, we have happy hour events."
So it's like a climbing center plus a gym plus an environmentally conscious business plus a co-working space plus a bar.
"What we love to cultivate is a kind-hearted community that's super passionate about climbing and very supportive," she says. "We encourage people to interact. In fact, you have to climb with a partner."
"We're there to provide a climbing experience, but also a shared social experience and building of community," she says.