Nov. 13, 2013 By Christian Murray
It’s almost enough to push him over the edge.
The owner of the Cliffs at LIC, a gigantic indoor rock-climbing center located on 44th Drive, was ordered by the Department of Buildings to close down his premises on October 25 after claiming that he did not have a valid certificate of occupancy.
Since then, the climbing facility has remained closed and is unlikely to reopen until December.
Mike Wolfert, who owns the Cliffs at LIC, opened the highly-publicized center on Oct. 5, just three weeks prior to it being shut.
Wolfert found it tough opening the facility in the first place. He had planned to open in May but complications with the building department—including his arrest for allegedly bribing a building inspector– delayed the opening.
However, when he did open, most of those thorny problems seemed behind him. On opening day, 1,000 people showed up to climb the 60-foot high walls and enjoy the music and giveaways. Several climbers were clipping ropes to the walls and were shimmying up and down the cliff faces.
Wolfert’s recent troubles began, however, when an anonymous complaint was filed on Oct. 23 that alleged The Cliffs was violating city zoning laws. While that complaint was unfounded and dismissed, it led to a building inspector coming to the facility.
The building inspector reported that The Cliffs did not have a valid certificate of occupancy.
The Buildings Dept. now wants a third party structural engineer to issue an opinion on the premises. That report will also review the work conducted by Wolfert’s engineers. Once that is complete, the Building Dept. will send an inspector to sign off on it.
“That should take a couple more weeks,” Wolfert said. However, “I doubt we will be open before December.”
Wolfert said that the facility’s members with be credited for days that the Cliffs is closed.