New family entertainment complex to open this summer

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

SHALLOTTE—Construction is under way on Planet Fun on Whiteville Road. It is planned to be the largest family entertainment recreational complex in the coastal Carolinas.

East Coast Entertainment, headed by Brian McCall, says the new facility will open this summer and will hire 70-85 employees.

Beside Lowes Home Improvement Center in Shallotte, Planet Fun is described as a 50,000-square-foot indoor upscale family entertainment center offering 32-state-of-the-art bowling lanes, four lanes of mini bowling, a two-story laser tag arena, nine-hole black-light miniature golf, bumper cars, an indoor soft playground, a large redemption and video arcade, party rooms, a concession stand, pro shop and the “Starz Sports Grille,” a 100-plus-seat sports and media restaurant.

“We are extremely excited about the project and look forward to bringing this upscale family entertainment center to Shallotte. It will offer an array of attractions and recreational activities for the entire family,” said McCall, president of East Coast Entertainment.

“We feel there is a great need in the community for this type of recreational facility. It will serve as an entertainment destination for all ages and have a broad appeal to families, churches, schools, corporate outings and the many tourists that visit Brunswick County.”

McCall, former owner of Coastal Cinemas, said he had been looking for another business opportunity in the area. As a parent of young children, he found the community lacking in “modern recreational facilities” that cater to kids and parents.

He started talking to the owner of the property, John Ward, and came up with the idea for Planet Fun. He visited similar facilities throughout the state and in Virginia, and after three or four years of researching, began work on the project.

“I saw an opportunity in the community for something that would keep people in town, something that caters to groups, churches and families.”

McCall said all the permits are in place, and Planet Fun is on track to open in late June or early July, depending on the weather.

Coram Construction, based in Mount Airy, is the general contractor of the facility.

Shallotte Mayor Gerald Long said this week the new facility is a welcome addition to the town and one of the biggest commercial construction projects in Shallotte.

Alderman Buddy Kelly said the center could be “ a good place for young people to go.”

“It sounds like it’s going to be a good, safe place to take your kids. I hope it’s going to be a benefit to the town. That’s what it sounds like.”

Planet Fun will be a smoke-free facility, McCall said.

According to McCall, the 32 lanes of bowling feature Qubica AMF synthetic lanes, with eight lanes set up as a bowling lounge or boutique bowling with custom sofas and a private setting if desired for a group, party or family.

The 120-inch media screens will provide customers with videos, sporting events, movies, TV or other types of media, and all 32 lanes will be equipped with bumpers for children.

The two-story laser tag arena will include glowing graphics with 3-D highlights with the theme “space tag adventure.”

The nine-hole black light mini-golf course has an ocean quest theme, and the players will experience the underwater world of Atlantis filled with coral, shells, statues and marine life and much more.

The indoor soft playground will include a kid conveyor, slides, mirrored play panel, toddler play maze, ball popper play panel and an adult-accessible spiral climb area.

The 100-seat restaurant, Starz Sports Grille, will feature a variety of food, and the sports bar will offer a casual atmosphere with multiple plasma TVs, specialty beer and wine selections, mixed drinks and frozen daiquiris.

In addition, Planet Fun will also include five party/conference rooms for large group events.