A 22,000-square-foot indoor park is about six to eight weeks from opening its doors in the Bradley Square Shopping Center along North Kinzie Avenue.
Hero City Adventure Park, slated to fill the former home of OfficeMax, 1190 N. Kinzie Ave. — just south of Hobby Lobby — is anticipated to open by mid- to late-April, said owner John Chu, 43, of Bourbonnais.
OfficeMax has been closed since November 2017.
The all-indoor park is under construction and John and his wife, Linda Wu, 40, both immigrants from China, are investing an estimated $700,000 to transform the former office supply store into what they hope will be a well-received attraction for families from in and around Kankakee County.
The project became public about 10 days ago when the “Hero City” sign was placed on the building.
John is a commercial truck driver, and Linda is a nail technician at Lavida Nail Salon in Bourbonnais.
The two began contemplating this idea in 2018 and began seriously pursuing it in 2019. In August 2019, they targeted the former OfficeMax after also exploring vacancies within Northfield Square mall.
“Every time we wanted to celebrate a kid’s birthday or a location for quality family events, we found ourselves traveling out of this area,” John said.
The location is undergoing a major transformation as crews are working on a variety to projects to get the location ready.
The facility will include an area for laser tag, a three-level obstacle course/jungle-type play area, UFO bumper cars, arcade and virtual reality games.
The complex also will have three large party rooms, as well as an area for parents to relax while children are playing.
Entry fees have not yet been set. Tentatively, the business will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The couple will hire management to operate the location. They expect to have 15-20 employees.
So where did they come up with the businesses’ name?
“Everyone needs a hero,” Linda said.
She said the project has caused quite a bit of anxiety.
“At first I was scared, but I’m really getting excited,” she said. She noted the couple have invested much of their savings, as well as borrowed money.
“We just feel the community needs a place like this. There is nothing like this around here,” she said.
She confessed there have been many sleepless nights as they contemplate the development and the investment. Linda noted that on a 1-10 scale regarding her nerves, she’s at 9.5.
Even though John and Linda are from China, they did not meet one another until they came to Bourbonnais. She left China in 2000 and he left the country in 2004.
The couple have four children, David, 18; Dylyn, 14; Junqian, 12; and Emme, 3.
The children have been involved with the development, mainly offering ideas of what youth would like and what they may not like.
• • •
While the weather has been cold and some snow has fallen in recent days, rest assured spring cannot be far off.
How do I know? Well, the calendar notes the Daylight-Saving Time begins on March 8; Major League Baseball players have returned to spring training; and the first day of spring (March 19) is just more than a month away.
But how do Kankakee County folks really know? Jaenicke’s Hot Dogs, 605 Armour Road, Bourbonnais, is set to reopen on Feb. 27.
Warm weather and sunny skies must be close.