A mid-November opening is targeted for 814 Lanes & Games – a new entertainment center at the former Richland Lanes, owner Chris Hogue said.
Chris and his brother, Bobby Hogue, are co-owners of Johnstown Entertainment Realty LLC. Earlier this year, they purchased the longtime bowling alley at 1140 Frances St. and are building an entertainment venue there that will be unlike anything Johnstown has seen before, Chris Hogue said.
“We are still looking at opening in mid-November, but I’m not going to give a specific date,” Hogue said. “We are living in a crazy time.
“Our demo work is all done. We are starting to rebuild it. We have a flooring team, electrical team and HVAC team upgrading the entire facility.”
Then, the attractions will come in from outside vendors.
“The laser tag arena comes in, and the company will assemble it on site,” he said.
Two escape rooms and 40 arcade games will be installed in the same manner.
“We are in second gear and shifting to third,” Hogue said.
The brothers also own and operate Hogue’s Fun Factory in The Galleria.
A job search on indeed.com shows 814 Lanes & Games is looking to hire a restaurant manager for the on-site bar and grill. The eatery will be called “Bites and Brews.”
“We’ve started to accept applications,” Hogue said. “We are trying to get leadership positions set. We plan on hiring 40 total employees for our two entities.”
Hogue said he expects to conduct interviews in October and host job fairs.
‘Laser tag arena’
The “Bites and Brews” menu will include pizza, burgers, salads, sandwiches and fried appetizers. In addition, there will be eight different beers on tap and assortment of other alcoholic beverages, he said.
The entertainment attractions will include 20 regular bowling lanes that have been upgraded from the old Richland Lanes, Hogue said. In addition, the plans call for four VIP lanes that can separated from the other 20 for a private experience for work and church groups and parties that want to have a contained space.
The building is 35,000 square feet. With the removal of 16 bowling lanes from the old Richland Lanes layout, there is a lot of room to pack in other forms of fun, Hogue said.
A post-apocalyptic-themed laser tag arena will occupy 3,000 square feet and facilitate up to 24 players at a time.
Hogue hinted that the center will also carry some of Johnstown’s heritage in its theme.
“The laser tag arena is from a state-of-the-art company,” he said. “It’s on a whole different level. It’s not like anything you’ll find in Altoona or Greensburg.”
Having operated the Fun Factory in The Galleria for years, Hogue said he’s especially aware that people travel outside of Johnstown for entertainment in Altoona, Greensburg or Pittsburgh. He said that was the motivation for 814 Lanes & Games, which he said has something for everybody.
In addition to bowling and laser tag, attractions in the complex will include two escape rooms – a 30-minute option for families and first-timers, as well as a 60-minute option.
‘Packing a lot in’
And for gamers and people who like Dave & Buster’s-style play, there will be 40 arcade games including a Hologate virtual reality system. In recent years, Hologate won awards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
“That’s one of the things I’m most excited about,” Hogue said. “We tested 10 different systems (before Hologate was selected). Four players can play at a time. Ten games are available for Hologate play including a zombie fighting game, an Angry Birds game and dancing game.
“Players wear headsets and have free range. You can walk around, jump, crouch and dance.”
Hogue foresees holding Hologate game tournaments with prize money attached for the highest scorer.
“We are packing a lot in,” he said. “And we’ve had nothing but positive reactions from the community. People are so excited we are bringing something to Johnstown that it hasn’t had in terms of a complete family fun experience.”
Richland Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Heffelfinger Jr. said 814 Lanes & Games should be a hit with people of all ages.
“It’s exciting to have something like that in the township that will serve people of a multitude of ages,” he said. “It’s something fresh, not just for Richland Township but also neighbors in the region.”
Speaking as president of the Cambria Regional Chamber as well as a mother of children who love bowling, Amy Bradley said she is excited for 814 Lanes & Games.
“I think any time there is something like that, giving young people more to do, it certainly enhances our area,” Bradley said.