A Columbia business consultant has grand plans to open a family entertainment indoor sports complex in the former General Electric Dryer building next June. The complex would include scores of activities, from a rock climbing wall adorned with a waterfall to indoor skating and soccer rinks.
Reginald N. Spencer, who heads Maryland Multi-Media and Marketing Management Inc., said he is in the process of raising $5 million to lease and develop a 150,000-square-foot area in the former Dryer building, which serves as a headquarters and warehouse for Luskin's Inc. and includes several other tenants, including a volleyball operation.
Cary Luskin, president of Luskin's, said Spencer has a letter of intent to lease the complex, which would be called the Sports Palace and be located off Gateway Drive in Columbia.
"There is no question that a sports complex here will be as successful as those now operating in California," Luskin said.
The proposed sports complex, which would employ about 200, would include a host of sport activities, such as volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, ice skating, skateboarding, rollerblading and ice hockey; a batting cage and pitching tunnel; a golf driving range; putting greens; a miniature golf course; basketball courts; pocket billiards; table tennis; a 150-machine video arcade; a "war games" area using laser guns; and areas for martial arts, boxing, gymnastics and universal weights, Spencer said.
In addition, the complex would house a sports medicine office, an adventure travel center, restaurants and snack bars, whirlpools,stages for bandsand a dance floor, a retail sports equipment and clothing store, a nursery, a sports medicine operation and tutoring services for students.
Spencer said a 60-foot waterfall on the climbing wall will cascade into a landscaped pool that will resemble an outdoor pond. The pond, where children can fish, would contain trout. The war games will be played amid interchangeable movie-type sets, he said.
"We hope to become a family entertainment center for all ages as well as have facilities for high-end training for athletes," said Spencer, who anticipates as many as 100,000 people joining the complex.
"Right now, we are thinking of a $50 yearly membership charge with no additional charge for some activities and a fee for others," he said.
The 46-year-old business consultant said that anyone who participates in the climbing or competitive activities would have to sign a waiver of responsibility and medically trained employees would be on hand to treat participants who are injured. The complex would be open seven days a week and activities would continue as late as 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.