Changes in the works at Buffalo Grove’s eSkape entertainment center
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:04AM
Buffalo Grove’s bowling alley and entertainment center could soon have new owners, a new floor plan and new attractions.
The owners of eSkape are planning to sell the business to the Brunswick Corp., which would turn the entertainment venue into an updated model of their Brunswick Zone family entertainment centers.
Officials from Brunswick visited the Buffalo Grove Village Board’s committee-of-the-whole meeting Monday, showing the trustees plans for what will happen if they aquire eSkape.
Mike Long, Brunswick’s vice president of service and construction, told the board that his company is already deep in its planning process.
“We’re moving ahead as if we already have approval,” said Long, who added that the goal is to purchase eSkape in early September, close the facility for three weeks for major renovations, then reopen in November.
Long and Don MacBrayne, Brunswick’s vice president, told the board they plan to bring laser tag back, add another four bowling lanes and add a full-sized video game room. The name would change to Brunswick Zone XL, becoming a larger-sized version of the successful Brunswick Zones that focus mainly on bowling and video games in Mount Prospect, Niles and other suburbs.
The eSkape center, 350 McHenry Road, has always offered 36 bowling lanes, but has gone through several other concept changes for its side rooms. For years, it has offered Grillworks as an accompanying bar and grill restaurant. The room that once offered a two-story laser tag maze became a teen dance club for one summer, but high expenses and low enthusiasm from Village Hall led to its conversion into The Arena, an adults-only nightclub.
Village Trustee Jeff Berman said that when eSkape was first opening, Buffalo Grove police officials had frowned upon video games, which can sometimes attract a clientele that drifts into troublemaking. The Brunswick Zone XL would keep its game room well-lit, MacBrayne said, and would favor kid- or grownup-friendly games with little focus on fighting games.
“We do not want to attract the dark element that comes in for the video games, which was the problem 20 years ago,” MacBrayne said. “There’s no blood and gore and guts and all that. We attract families.”
And corporations, MacBrayne and Long added to their target audience.
The plan would be to have rooms that can convert from birthday parties to banquets and meeting spaces.
MacBrayne said Brunswick’s XL model, currently in use at 14 locations around the country, is a cross between kid-oriented Chuck E. Cheese’s and adult-oriented Dave & Buster’s.
Trustees cannot take action at its committee-of-the-whole meetings. The approvals that Brunswick will need to proceed are scheduled to be on the Village Board’s Sept. 10 meeting agenda.
Village President Jeff Braiman asked Police Chief Steve Balinski to check with counterparts in nearby cities that have Brunswick properties to see if they have any issues.
“I haven’t heard any objections,” Braiman said.
“Time is of the essence,” village manager Dane Bragg added.
Officials at eSkape could not be reached Monday. ~.