BY PETER JONES
Last year’s fall of one of the nation’s largest sporting-goods retailers continues its ripple effect on recreation-centered businesses in the south metro area and beyond.
While the largest climbing gym in the United States will soon fill Sports Authority’s former headquarters in Englewood, outdoor-recreation specialist REI remains on track to take over the former retail giant’s location in Greenwood Village.
Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy last year.
The latest higher-profile REI location, 9000 E. Peakview Ave., near the intersection of I-25 and Arapahoe Road, will replace the retailer’s previous smaller location on County Line Road in Centennial near IKEA, a site REI had maintained for nearly two decades.
The new 45,000-square-foot REI in its more visible site is expected to carry a larger assortment of equipment when it opens in the fall, the company says, emphasizing its educational focus.
“To be able to support this outdoor community in a larger space just a couple miles from our current location will help all of us to inspire each other to get outside,” Kris Reale, the store’s manager, said in a statement. “This new store will show how we bring the outdoors in and connect the local community to life outdoors.”
REI Outdoor School will offer in-store and field classes in those areas, as well as in hiking, climbing and backpacking. Most of the programming will be free.
In addition to a larger selection of gear for mountain biking, climbing and snow sports, the new REI will boast maintenance shops for biking, skiing and snowboarding.
When asked for further comment and an estimated opening date, the corporation declined.
The Greenwood Village location is the second former Sports Authority in the state that REI has repurposed, having taken over the onetime Dillon outlet in May.
This year, Seattle-based REI announced plans to invest $160,000 in local outdoor-geared nonprofits.