LONDONDERRY — A new indoor inflatable air park and laser tag arena called Xtreme Craze, located in the Apple Tree Mall, celebrated its grand opening Friday morning.
Owner Greg Hughes invested $2 million in the 24,000-square-foot facility, which includes the first large-scale inflatable air park installation in the country.
During the ceremony, Town Manager Kevin Smith said he first started talking to Hughes about 2½ years ago when Hughes first started looking at the space. Things were in flux with the future of the plaza before current property owner George Vernet bought the shopping center.
“I didn’t want to lose him,” Smith said of Hughes.
So they kept talking, and Smith thanked Hughes for sticking it out.
“It’s just great to see life being brought back into it and tenants moving into it,” Smith said. “My kids are going to love this place.”
Ashley Haseltine, the president of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard from countless people in town who can’t wait to check out the entertainment center and other new offerings in the plaza.
Sen. Sharon Caron said the business is a “great addition to our community,” and presented a resolution from the state Senate congratulating Hughes on his first New Hampshire location.
Hughes owns two Xtreme Craze family entertainment centers in Woburn, Mass., and Westborough, Mass.
“It’s been such a welcoming community, in every sense of the word,” Hughes said.
So far, he has hired about 32 employees and expects to hire another 10 to 15 in the next two or three weeks.
He has a fourth location coming to Foxborough, Mass., which will also feature an air park installation. That facility, expected to open at the end of the summer, also represents a $2 million investment. Both centers are being financed by Salem Five Bank.
Hughes said he plans to pay special attention to how the Londonderry airpark is utilized before designing the features for the park to be installed in Foxborough.
The center was open until 2 p.m. Friday, but Hughes said their first full day will be Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Vernet said he is in talks with a number of potential tenants to move into the remaining vacant storefront space at the Apple Tree Mall, and sales in the Shaw’s grocery store are on the rise.
The parking lot was recently repaved and crews are currently redesigning the facades.
Aside from the 10,000-square-foot air park, there is also a 7,000-square-foot multi-level laser tag arena, arcade games and a pizza cafe that will serve beer and wine.
The air park is designed to be used by children and adults alike, Hughes said.