Scarborough planners OK Haigis Parkway climbing center

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SCARBOROUGH — Good Rebel Holdings has scaled the peak of Planning Board acceptance, and now the first climbing gym in town will be coming to Haigis Parkway.

Board members Monday unanimously approved a site plan for the 10,000-square-foot rock climbing center, which will approach five stories in height at one end.

The approval came after revised plans for the building’s exterior got an enthusiastic board reception.

“I think you really hit it out of the park on this,” board member Cory Fellows told Good Rebel partners Mark Richey and Fred Wilkinson.

The partners, with Taki Miyamoto, plan to build the center on about 1.5 acres of land along Haigis Parkway, next to a man-made pond about midway between Payne Road and U.S. Route 1.

Monday’s meeting was the fourth review of facility plans, and was rescheduled from Feb. 18.

The building will have varied heights of 29 feet and 47 feet. But it was an extended facade that initially prompted Planning Board concern, because the unbroken facing did not meet design standards in the zone.

So the partners went back to the drawing board after a Jan. 6 meeting, enlisting the help of Port City Architecture principal Andrew Hyland.

“We took a look at it from scratch, the volumes of open space,” Hyland said Monday.

Hyland returned with plans to add faux rock faces to the exterior, while using surface sections resembling rock around the front entrance and trellis structures that would encourage vine growth.

The intent is to prevent the building from looking like a warehouse, which would be acceptable in zoning just across U.S. Route 1 on Lincoln Avenue, but not in the designated Haigis Parkway zone.

Hyland said there were limitations to what could be envisioned.

“(We said) let’s try to bring down the scale, let’s make it more pedestrian, and keep it true to the function inside,” he said.

The final plans boosted the building height by about 3 feet because it is the industry standard and would allow for climbing competitions. It is expected the facility will be used mostly in the winter.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.