Vital Climbing Gym Development

A century-old timber and masonry Brooklyn warehouse development has undergone a multifaceted conversion into Greenpoint’s newest bouldering gym with a rooftop wellness sanctuary.

Vital Climbing took footing with the adaptive reuse and superstructure expansion of a former industrial facility site, transforming three unused structures into one undeniably cool, multi-use fitness development. Looking to make the most of the existing buildings, Vital sought innovative engineering solutions to suit its unique needs and preserve any salvageable historic architectural and structural elements.

McLaren Engineering Group was responsible for the redevelopment’s structural, foundation, and geotechnical engineering scope, providing solutions to best convert the old buildings into one structurally sound facility with walls and a roof fit for climbing. Our team provided multiphase services from initial due diligence reviews to surveys, geotechnical investigations, foundation engineering, tie-in support, temporary bracing, construction administration, supplemental light gage metal framing design, select Special Inspections, and structural services for overall retrofitting and new construction.

The McLaren Difference: Applied Ingenuity

Initial Due diligence reviews involved assessment of design, engineering calculations, and site investigations to confirm the feasibility of Vital’s gym development plans for the space. Main project objectives sought to unify the 3 structures (A, B, and C), raise the roof by adding an independent superstructure above Section C, and rehabilitate the barrel vault ceiling in Section B.

Due to the nature of the reconfiguration and superstructure addition that supports the bulk of the gym’s rooftop wellness space, Section C required the most accommodations. This included new structural framing for the roof, columns, and foundations. At the ground level, comprehensive geotechnical investigations were conducted to evaluate the underlying conditions and it was determined the site sat on a compressible clay layer. These findings, coupled with load analysis review, and the geometric eccentricity of the building itself, resulted in a foundation design for Section C that utilized mini piles combined with helical piles.

For the shell of Section C, our work included design and detailing of a new roof structure and the supporting steel columns on a modified column grid, temporary bracing of the salvaged exterior façade, perimeter brick wall removal and replacement, and development of tie-in details where Section C structure meets A and B. Moreover, the team provided dunnage design to support new mechanical equipment on the roof.

With regard to Section B, McLaren designed the new mezzanine storage space framed with light-gage steel as well as the reframing of Section B’s roof for a new stair and elevator shaft. Additionally, McLaren designed the new steel framework for the exterior canopy structure between Sections B and C.

Now open, Vital Climbing is an eccentrically bold addition to the neighborhood with indoor and outdoor bouldering, fitness, training, and yoga space. The roof features climbing walls, sauna, Refuge Café and lounge areas with views of the Manhattan skyline. Pops of vivid colors, black and white murals, and urban greenspace work in harmony with the restored architectural elements and original brick, making the West Coast Company’s first NYC location perfectly Brooklyn.