BRADLEY — The Hero City Adventure Park in Bradley will open Saturday — finally.
Like so many others around the region and nation for that matter, the development will open somewhat later than planned because of the national health pandemic. Originally targeted for opening in April, the Bourbonnais husband-and-wife team, John Chu and Linda Wu, will officially open the facility at 9 a.m. Saturday at 1190 N. Kinzie Ave., Bradley.
The all-indoor entertainment park in the approximate 23,000-square-foot building, which was once the home of the OfficeMax store just south of Hobby Lobby in the Bradley Square Shopping Center, has been a challenge to get opened, noted the owners.
The problems were not due to contractors, supplies or plans. The delay — as the world knows — was thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The couple had expected to have the location ready for fun-seekers by mid to late April.
Of course, there was that issue associated with the coronavirus.
Linda simply shakes her head when the subject of getting Hero City opened to the public comes up.
“It’s been crazy,” she said through a wide smile. “Each step we crossed, we celebrated. And finally it is done. It’s been a battle.”
The location, which came available when OfficeMax closed in November 2017, features a wide selection for people ranging in age from 10 months to senior citizens. There is a 3,000-square-foot area for an indoor playground, called the Toddler Zone. It features a three-level obstacle course structure.
There is a seven-bumper-car arena and drivers must be at least 42-inches tall to operate the vehicles.
There is a game zone filled with virtual reality games as well as more traditional electronic game stations.
One of the location’s crowning areas is the 6,000-square-foot laser tag room which can accommodate up to 30 participants for up to 30-minute game sessions.
For adults enjoying the time their children are playing there are four massage chairs and televisions. The location also offers free WiFi.
The business will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
In all, the location will have a workforce of about 30. The bulk of the employees will be part-time workers.
And, of course, the complex is monitoring its customers in regards to COVID-19. Customers will be screened for temperatures prior to entrance and wearing of face masks is required.
“From March through May I didn’t know if we would open,” John said. “I didn’t see any light. But when we got to Phase 4 (state guideline for reopening businesses), I felt things were finally coming together. For so long we just didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Bill Phelps of Bourbonnais is the general manager. He said the site has already had customers stopping by ready to play games, but were told the opening hasn’t yet happened.
“People seem very excited,” he said.
One of those people is Bradley Mayor Pro Tem Mike Watson. Watson said the Hero City may help lead the way to what this area eventually becomes. He said while the area will maintain retail, it will certainly be shifting to entertainment.
“This development is following the lines of what we see here. This fits the bill perfectly. It’s our hope this helps draw people in and allows for more development,” he said.
Whatever may happen in the future is unknown. John, however, is proud of what they have accomplished thus far.
“This has never been done here. I had a plan, but Linda has the controls. Now we can start generating revenue and get these wheels going,” he said.
“What we want to see is every kid walk out of here with a smile. That’s my goal.”