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It all started with a game of cornhole.
Anne-Worley and Mike Moelter had found the ideal spot on Walnut Street in RiNo for the third location of their franchise Movement Climbing + Fitness, but the 50,000-square-foot building was just a little too big. On the hunt for a partnership to fill the void, it hit Mike one day while playing the popular bean bag toss game at the Rayback Collective, a food-truck park, bar, and community hub right across the street from Movement’s Boulder locale. Rayback was the perfect fit.
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Rayback owners Hank Grant and Justin Riley agreed. “We were looking at doing something new, and the location in RiNo is great—they want to build a sense of community, and we already had a good relationship with Movement,” Grant says. “It was just a slam dunk.”
And so, Denver’s newest innovative space was born, combining the two well-known businesses under the same roof. The 40,000-square-foot climbing gym occupied by Movement will be bouldering-only, featuring problems from expert setters. It will also maintain the same trademarks as their other Boulder and Denver locations: more than 50 complimentary yoga and fitness classes for members, a full selection of cardio and training machines, and a focus on green energy.
The Rayback side, dubbed Improper City, will include a beer and cocktail bar, a coffeeshop with co-working spaces, an indoor stage, and a 12,000-square-foot patio—which they say will be the largest in Denver—that will house a rotating cast of food trucks. The versatile space will host a constant stream of events, from local bands to children’s birthday parties to corporate functions. “People want that all-inclusive space, to recreate, to eat, to work, to congregate with their friends, and this collaboration provides for all of that,” Anne-Worley says.
Rather than a hybrid, the two business will operate separately at full force, but collaborate closely. They aim not to just bring another novel idea to the area, but an inclusive community space to one of the hottest developing neighborhoods in Denver. “There’s a lot of change, good and bad, happening in RiNo,” Grant says. “But us coming in will hopefully be a breath of fresh air, by creating a welcoming space and interacting with a diverse demographic.”
It’s an idea they’ve clearly committed to. The Improper City logo, a bird—an iteration of the oxpeckers that live in symbiosis with rhinos—is representative of the mutually beneficial relationship the project aims to have with the district. “We don’t want to take more than we give,” Grant insists.