InsideOutdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | SUMMER 2018 26 The owners and developers of the Parkside retail center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., fully under- stand that retail and the role of the shopping center is changing very quickly. “We are not sure what it’s changing to,” said Alan McDon- ald, general partner and one of the owners of Parkside, “But a few things we do know are that all the stakeholders in the community have to be involved in whatever you are doing … and we also know people are looking for an ex- perience; they are looking for a place to come and have fun and be together.” It’s become a recurring theme: retail must be experiential and shop- ping centers must offer more than aisles, shelves and inventory. But the Parkside developers are tak- ing a bit of a unique approach as to how and who it’s looking to attract to its shopping center currently being renovated in Murfreesboro. Rather than the movie theatre, large chain superstore or cluster or fast casual restaurants that typically are used as the “destinations” to attract crowds and keep them lingering, Parkside’s anchor tenant is a massive climbing gym – Climbing Murfreesboro, to be specific, the third and newest loca- tion of Climb Nashville. The Parkside developers believe a climbing gym makes perfect sense as the anchor of a shopping center in Mur- freesboro, an up-and-coming suburban market 30 miles southeast of Nashville currently experiencing exceptional job growth, a swelling population and one of the state’s most productive economic engines. It’s also in close proximity to Middle Tennessee State University, plac- ing more than 22,000 student less two miles from the shopping center. In fact, the Parkside shopping center is being positioned as a “neighborhood center” that caters specifically to the popula- tion of students, young professionals and their families who value an active, healthy lifestyle and “whole living.” “We are gearing our tenant mix toward outdoor, healthy lifestyle in- dividuals and families and MTSU students,” explained McDonald. Along with the climbing gym, tenants of 77,500-square-foot shopping center is expected to include salons, spas, physical therapists, cafes, craft brew- eries and outdoor and bicycle spe- cialty dealers. Parkside development executives also are currently working with the City of Murfreesboro on converting the Sinking Creek watershed, five acres of commercially unusable wetlands imme- diately south of the center, into a public park to act as an auxiliary retail driver. Expectations are to approve and build a greenway and trails that would connect Parkside to the MTSU campus, provid- ing students, staff and the surrounding neighborhoods walking and biking ac- cess to and from Parkside. Inside the 30,500-square-foot Climbing Murfreesboro facility, visitors will find 45-foot climbing walls, bouldering areas where athletes can free climb, and a se- ries of brightly colored “fun walls” in shapes of trees, beanstalks and buildings for kids to scamper and climb upon – significantly more boulder than found at Climb Nashville’s other gyms, said Lance Brock, co-owner of Climb Murfreesboro and Climb Nashville (the company’s Music City location has been open since 2003). Construction of the climbing walls is underway with the help of Bulgarian climbing wall manufacturer, Walltopia. And like the other Tennessee loca- tions, Murfreesboro will also offer fitness and cardio equipment, yoga classes, and a retail shop offering climbing equipment along with healthy snacks and drinks. “It’s a full-service, family-friendly gym,” Brock recently told local publi- cation, Nashville Parent . “We’ll have stuff for kids to do. You can run on the treadmill and the kids can climb. There are things multiple generations can do. We’ll also have yoga classes, fitness classes and full climbing instruction.”  “Having a state-of-the-art fitness complex like Climb Murfreesboro is a key component to Parkside in creating the ultimate experiential complex,” said McDonald. “Our goal is creating a sense of place that promotes healthy living in Rutherford County by securing tenants in the categories of active lifestyle, food and beverage, and self-care.” Climb Murfreesboro is expected to open by late August, with the remainder of the Parkside development opening by mid-fall. m Buyer’s Side by Martin vilaboy Retail Ascension Climbing Gym to anchor Tennessee shopping development Rendering of Climb Mufreesboro exterior within the Parkside shopping complex