Sender One Finishes New LA Bouldering Gym in Former Theater

Sender One Westwood interior
Sender One recently opened its second public bouldering gym in the Los Angeles area, its first of four new climbing gyms set to open in 2024 or 2025. (All images courtesy of Sender One)

Sender One, a California climbing gym chain with five open facilities—including a team training center—and three planned gyms on the way, opened its Westwood location last week. Retrofitted to the former Mann Festival Theatre in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, the new bouldering gym—a pre-COVID project that was first announced in 2019—is situated near the UCLA campus as well as multiple restaurants, cafes, and entertainment services.

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Features of the 8,000-square-foot Westwood facility include a wide range of bouldering terrain on the main floor and a 2,000-square-foot mezzanine with training boards, fitness and yoga. The multi-colored Walltopia climbing walls were inspired in part by “the uniqueness of the original space,” a press release detailed, calling to mind film strips, directional lighting, and projectors.

Sender One Westwood exterior
The walls and interior of the Westwood gym were designed to “preserve a theatre-like feel,” per the press release, and the marquee at the building’s entrance was preserved “to pay tribute to the once-popular Westwood venue.”

In a blog post ahead of the gym’s opening, Alice Kao, co-owner of Sender One and a UCLA alumna herself, said, “At the open house on 2/1, we had over 300 people walk in between 5 and 9pm! There were tons of students from UCLA and lots of people from the surrounding Westwood community…We are so excited to finally open this gym! We’ve been trying to open this gym since 2019.  There were delays due to COVID, then delays due to the city permitting issues. We were supposed to open this past summer but we ran into a major permitting issue half way through construction and we had to stop work, rip out some of our work and re-do a bunch of work. Now we are finally at the finish line…”

Later this year, Sender One is expected to complete two more gym projects in the Los Angeles area—a 9,000-square-foot bouldering facility (Huntington Beach) and 28,000-square-foot full-service facility (Lakewood). And in 2025, the 24,000-square-foot Aliso Viejo facility, Sender One’s fourth full-service gym, is slated to open.