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Touchstone Looks to Berkley

A mock-up of what the Oaks Theatre on Solano Avenue will look like if it is converted into a Touchstone climbing facility. Photo: Treve Johnson Photography

The country’s largest gym operator is looking to open up shop in Berkley, California sometime in 2018. The Berkelyside is reporting the sale of The Oaks theater to Touchstone Climbing which plans to transform the space into a full-service climbing gym.

Touchstone’s plans, which must still be approved by Berkeley, call for leaving the Oaks marquee and entrance intact, as well as the five retail spaces fronting Solano Avenue, according to Mailee Hung, Touchstone’s director of outreach and communications.

The 21,575-square-foot interior will be transformed into a large bouldering facility, said Hung. Other spaces will include workout rooms and a yoga studio, she said.

Touchstone Climbing plans to submit its plans to Berkeley this week. It will also hold meetings with neighbors soon to tell them about the plans, said Hung.

It could take four to six months to get a use permit and another few months to get a building permit said, Melvin. If all goes well and the neighborhood likes the idea, the gym could open in a year to 18 months.

“If there is opposition, we won’t build the building,” said Melvin.

The building’s owner put it on the market in May for $4,250,000. The building sold for close to its asking price, said Melvin.

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