Owners of Andy Alligator’s announce plans for 26,000-square-foot facility near Warren Theatres
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City is about to get a lot more entertaining.
A metro entertainment company plans to build a 26,000-square-foot entertainment complex in the Sooner Rose Shopping Center near SE 15th St. and Sooner Rd.
Allison’s Fun Inc. on Tuesday evening announced plans to open the entertainment complex in early 2019. The indoor entertainment complex will offer bowling, bumper cars, laser tag, virtual reality games, arcade games, a restaurant, private meeting space and more.
“We want to bring all of that in and draw people from this area because these people are ready to play,” said owner Russell Allison. “I’m sorry, but there are not a lot of places to go to around here and we think it will be extremely beneficial to the city and obviously to us.”
The company owns and operates Andy Alligator’s Fun Park and Water Park in Norman, and a full-service party planning and amusement rental business. The Midwest City location will be called Andy’s Altitude 1291 and feature an aviation theme.
“It will have an industrial aircraft look,” Allison said. “And we have the 1291 because that is the elevation of Tinker Air Force Base.”
The entertainment complex will be built on the east end of the Sooner Rose Shopping Center, between Buena Vista Ave. and Crosby Blvd. Warren Theatres recently started construction of a 10-screen theater on the north end of the development.
Allison believes Andy’s Altitude 1291 will be a fun and affordable entertainment destination for all ages. He said it will be a great place for children’s birthdays, business groups, family outings, and date night for teens and young adults.
The entertainment complex will have an outdoor lounge area with seating and outdoor games.
“It’ll be a great place where you can have a beer, hang out, or play games like corn hole,” Allison said.
City leaders shared in the enthusiasm for the project. Mayor Matt Dukes called the entertainment complex and Warren Theatre a “game changer” that will generate a lot of excitement for the community.
Ward One Councilmember Susan Eads thanked Allison for discussing the plan with residents and filling a need in the community.
“We appreciate it. And I have a lot of constituents that are excited and ready to sign up to have birthday parties at your facility as soon as it gets off the ground,” Eads said during Tuesday’s meeting.
Andy’s Altitude 1291 will anchor the third phase of the Sooner Rose Shopping Center, which is developed by Sooner Investment Group. The third phase also includes four commercial lots for restaurant or retail development.
The Midwest City Memorial Hospital Authority, a public trust, is contributing about $2 million in property and public improvements for the third phase of the development.
The Authority board of trustees, which consists of Midwest City Council, unanimously approved a development financing assistance agreement during Tuesday’s council meeting.
According to the agreement, the Authority is providing about 3 acres to Allison for the entertainment complex. The property is valued at about $1.1 million. Sooner Investment will receive less than 1 acre, which is valued at about $369,000.
Midwest City will also contribute about $500,000 in public improvements. Those improvements include construction of a stormwater detention pond, water and sewer lines, relocation of a petroleum pipeline and engineering work. Allison will reimburse the Authority for 34 percent of the expenses.
Midwest City is providing public assistance for the first two phases of the development. Hobby Lobby and Academy Sports and Outdoors opened in October 2016 as the first phase of the development. In early 2017, Warren Theatres announced plans for a Midwest City location. The city provided cash and land towards the theater and other public improvements. A tax increment financing or TIF district was created to pay for those improvements. As part of the plan, city leaders outlined a need for a standalone entertainment complex in the third phase of the development.
Ward Two Councilman Pat Byrne recalled traveling a couple of years ago with former councilman Rick Dawkins and economic development director Robert Coleman to Houston, Texas to tour a similar concept that combined a movie theater and entertainment complex.
“We saw a theater and your concept together and we did not think it would work under one roof in Midwest City,” Byrne said. “We have a population base that when they go to a movie, they don’t want to walk through an arcade. So thank you very much.”
Allison said the entertainment complex has been in the works for a while. They designed this concept after touring entertainment complexes across the country and scouting sites in Oklahoma.
Allison estimates the project will cost about $6.5 to $7 million.
“We are not knee deep into this, we are waist deep into it,” he said. “We have all of our vendors in place for everything except the building now.”
Allison Fun Inc. started its corporate events business 25 years ago. They opened Andy Alligator’s 10 years ago and they added the water park six years ago.