Urban Axes is really happening, people: Here’s what’s next

As of Wednesday afternoon, the hatchet-toss recreation hall planned for Kensington is a sure thing.

Danya Henninger

Bullsye! As of Wednesday afternoon, it’s a sure thing: Axe-throwing is coming to Philadelphia.

Urban Axes, the hatchet-toss recreation hall planned for Kensington, just got the go-ahead from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment. All present members of the board voted in favor of the variance the facility needed to open, per Axe Master General Lily Cope, who’s been tasked with running the Toronto-inspired social sport’s first major U.S. facility.

There are a few provisos attached to the approval, as recommended by the East Kensington Neighborhood Association, which gave the project its blessing last week. Included among them are restrictions on hours — no super-late-night axe parties, sorry — and also the designation that the variance is attached to that specific tenant. Essentially, Urban Axes applied for and received a nightclub/private club use variance because it was the best fit for the unorthodox venue, but the neighborhood wanted to make sure someone can’t swoop in and open an actual nightclub there should UA move out in the future.

For Cope and the team behind the company (a group of friends who met working together in IT and finance in Australia), it’s go-go-go-time.

After building permits are submitted and approved, construction will begin, beefing up the cool warehouse space so it houses eight different two-lane corrals, each with a pair of bullseye targets at the end and fencing around the sides.

Also critical is the continued hiring and training of “axeperts” — the people who’ll show you how to throw, keep score and make sure no one gets hurt while they’re having fun with sharp blades. (Over the past decade, there have been fewer than five recorded injuries — all minor — across dozens of Canadian facilities serving tens of thousands of people.)

If the thought of throwing axes for fun makes your ears tingle with anticipation, now’s a great time to join a league: Eight weeks costs $120 plus tax (and the price of an axe). You don’t have to join a league to play, though.

A summer 2016 opening is targeted — and if anyone knows how to hit a target, it’s probably these folks.

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