Customers will have to wait a little longer for a 35,000-square-foot addition to be completed at The Edge in Belleville.
“If things go really, really well, we could potentially have the go-kart track open by Christmas,” said Keith Schell, who owns the entertainment complex with his wife, Mary Dahm-Schell. “More realistically, it will be January.”
Besides indoor electric go-karts, the addition will include bumper cars, virtual-reality experiences, a six-lane bowling alley, a banquet facility with party rooms and an adult-friendly arcade with a bar, dart boards, pinball machines and Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter video games.
Originally, the Schells had hoped to complete the $3.6 million addition last summer. Then the target date got switched to September.
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“It took months to get the steel in,” Keith said Tuesday. “The steel trade is really slow. But once we started building (three months ago), it went really fast.”
Workers have enclosed the addition’s shell, which has a 35-foot-high ceiling. They have poured the concrete go-kart track and installed most drywall on the second floor, where the bowling alley, arcade and banquet facility will be located.
Still left to be done is a small amount of concrete work and installation of electricity, fire-safety features and lighting.
The Schells originally talked about building a “4-D theater,” but those plans were fine-tuned so that the addition would include three virtual-reality experiences. One will allow eight people at a time to go back to the dinosaur age and fly like pterodactyls over volcanoes and other land forms.
“It’s an open platform,” Keith said. “People put on virtual-reality glasses and buckle up in their seats, and the platform moves according to the ‘movie.’ It’s like a ride.”
The Edge started in 1998 with a 26,000-square-foot laser-tag center called Laser Rock on South Belt West.
Since that time, the Schells have completed nine renovations or additions, moving their D.S. Vespers restaurant from West Main to South Belt and building five theater screens, two video arcades and 12 party rooms, totaling 45,000 square feet. They had a miniature golf course at one time.
“I don’t care what age you are, you can find something to do here,” Keith said.
When the 35,000-square-foot addition is completed, The Edge will total 80,000 square feet.
“It’s a real game-changer for us,” Keith said. “To have so many first-class attractions under one roof is rare in the country, let alone a small market like Belleville.”