is on its way to new amenities, new ownership and a new name.
Brunswick unveiled plans Monday night to take over the facility and convert it into a Brunswick Zone XL, an entertainment center that the company’s website says offers “extra large fun.”
Mike Long, Brunswick’s vice president for service, said the company is negotiating with eSkape to acquire and rebrand the facility. He shared plans to make a series of interior improvements with village officials during their committee of the whole meeting. Those plans include adding arcade games and billiards tables; converting The Arena, which currently hosts bands, into a laser tag area; adding a new restaurant and lounge area, and converting the current restaurant space into meeting rooms.
Most of the 36 bowling lanes would remain intact, though four would be closed and later relocated, Long said.
“In today’s market, customers are demanding multiple options in a game facility,” he said. “We’re really excited about being in Buffalo Grove. It’s a dynamic market, we believe.”
Brunswick Zone XL locations, which include Algonquin and Naperville, are larger than traditional Brunswick Zones and offer more amenities, upgraded games and more food and beverage selections, said Don MacBrayne, vice president of operations.
Brunswick seeks an amendment to a village ordinance that caps the number of coin-operated machines at 36. The company hopes to offer up to 60 games in the Buffalo Grove facility.
“We do not want to attract the dark element that comes in with the video games,” Long said. “There’s no blood and gore and guts … we attract families that want to go out and have a good time together.”
Brunswick officials hope to take over eSkape's lease in mid-September. The building would be shut down for three weeks while painting, carpeting and other interior work is done. Long said the Brunswick Zone XL would be fully operational by the beginning of November.
Bill Feldgreber, eSkape’s general manager, offered little comment Monday night, other than to acknowledge that the plans with Brunswick began only a short while ago and that he’s excited about the proposed purchase. But, he added, “it’s not done.”
Trustees will be asked to approve the request for additional game machines at their Sept. 10 meeting.
On Monday, village officials’ responses included a question from Trustee Steve Trilling about whether surveillance cameras in The Arena would continue to provide a feed to the police station. Long noted that The Arena area would no longer be in place, but that he’d be willing to work with police if there are concerns. Police Chief Steve Balinski said he’d consider the matter and make a recommendation to the Board.
Trustee Andy Stein wondered whether eSkape would advise children to redeem stashes of prize tickets before the facility closes and whether Brunswick would honor eSkape’s tickets. Officials indicated they would work together on that transition.
Stein also wondered what would happen to eSkape’s employees. Long said the plan is to keep eSkape’s staff, which numbers 70. Employees would be interviewed by Brunswick, which would also conduct new background checks, he said.
Village attorney Bill Raysa pointed out that in addition to the ordinance limiting the number of amusement devises, village codes also specify aisle widths and minimum spacing between game machines.
Restrictions were put on amusement devices, Trustee Jeff Berman said, because the village’s previous police chief “didn’t like video games.”
“I don’t see any issues at this time,” said Balinski, who added that he will look into issues documented at Dave & Busters, a similar entertainment facility.