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Indoor entertainment complex planned at former IGA site in Akwesasne

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AKWESASNE - The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council invited entrepreneurs to submit proposals for an adaptive re-use of the vacant IGA building located at 850 state Route 37, Akwesasne. The seed for the project was community-driven through an informal social media survey; Akwesasne overwhelmingly requested the need for a recreational facility.

In the request for proposal, the SRMT requested interested parties submit ideas that “support the local community and SRMT’s vision and goals for economic development.”

The vision of JNR Enterprises, LLC exceeded the requirements. On June 27, JNR Enterprises, LLC was endorsed by tribal council to build the region’s only complete indoor family entertainment facility, Velocity!.

Business developers Matthew Rourke and Casey Jacobs presented the facility plans to the community at a tribal meeting this spring and received both pointed questions and broad support concerning their feasibility study, business plan and goals. The entrepreneurial duo’s ultimate goal is “to provide the community with a high-end family entertainment facility and strengthen the economy in Akwesasne.”

Velocity! will feature 16 world-class bowling lanes, four state-of-the-art golf simulators, a complete redemption arcade, an elegant billiard facility and an unrivaled laser tag competition center. The project includes a family restaurant and an upscale bar and lounge.

“JNR Enterprises expects to employ 20 full-time employees when fully operational and subcontract opportunities for the pro shop and vending,” Jacobs said.

JNR Enterprises, LLC expects the facility to open before the end of 2014.

Rourke and Jacobs are working with financial institutions to secure financing of the $3 million facility. Economic development and job creation is the driving force behind Velocity! and their market research is complete. Strategic goals include partnerships with the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort and tribally-managed programs aimed at health and education, including the disability programs, schools and extracurricular clubs.

JNR Enterprise, LLC requested credit support for the project from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in the amount of $500,000 and, as part of their business plan, will be negotiating leasing rates for the 31,000-square-foot space.

The developers have retained Brunswick Bowling and Billiards for the design of the facility and to manage the build-out construction and inventory acquisition. Brunswick will partner with Betson Entertainment to supply the redemption arcade equipment, Full Swing Golf to provide the simulators and LASERTRON to design, install and supply laser tag studio equipment.

The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort has annual traffic in excess of 1.7 million vehicles and had 1.38 million visitors in 2013. St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council Sub-Chief, Michael Conners announced the RFP award at the 2014 swearing-In ceremony as he accepted his re-election.

“It is an exciting time for entrepreneurs in Akwesasne and we’re proud to endorse JNR Enterprise’s venture,” he said.

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