Come for the video games and zip traces. Keep for the flicks, live shows and Mellow Mushroom pizza.
That’s proprietor Chris Scuderi’s new philosophy for Gator Mike’s Household Enjoyable Park in Cape Coral. The park’s upcoming growth undertaking will embody main live shows, a drive-in movie show and the town’s first Mellow Mushroom restaurant.
The thought is to herald folks in the course of the day for the park’s current points of interest, together with an aerial park, go-karts, batting cages, mini golf and ax throwing.
Then, when evening comes, the brand new points of interest will give folks extra causes to stay round. They’ll seize some meals at Mellow Mushroom, absorb a live performance or watch a drive-in film from the AC-cooled consolation of their very own automobile.
“I attempted to seek out issues that had been going to work effectively collectively,” Scuderi says, “and likewise at totally different instances of the day.”
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Development may begin as quickly as February on the 5,200-square-foot restaurant — solely the third Mellow Mushroom in Southwest Florida. The opposite two areas are in Estero and south Fort Myers.
The restaurant may open 4 or 5 months after that, Scuderi says. It possible can be adopted a couple of months later by the drive-in movie show.
The roughly $5 million undertaking is anticipated to show the Pine Island Highway amusement park into much more of a vacation spot, says Nita Whaley, enterprise recruitment/retention specialist for Cape Coral’s Workplace of Financial and Enterprise Improvement.
“I feel it’s going to make a major affect to Cape Coral,” Whaley says. “It’s simply going to attract extra folks.”
Scuderi plans to submit the primary permits on the undertaking later this week. He’s been working carefully with the Metropolis of Cape Coral and already has a contractor, Compass Development.
Scuderi has been steadily renovating and upgrading the previous Greenwell’s Bat-A-Ball & Household Enjoyable Park since shopping for the property in 2019. He’s added zip traces, an aerial park, a mountaineering wall and extra.
All these adjustments are giving folks extra issues to do in fast-growing Cape Coral — particularly the bustling Pine Island Highway hall.
Cape Coral’s unofficial inhabitants depend has reached about 208,000, making it the seventh greatest metropolis in Florida, Whaley says. Town handles about 400 new single-family constructing permits a month, she added.
“It’s very busy, and all these residents want someplace to go,” Whaley says. “They should have locations they’ll take their households and go to dinner and have a spot the place they’ll play putt-putt or do the high-ropes course or go to the flicks. I feel it’s thrilling.”
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In March, Scuderi purchased 5 acres of land to the east of his 10-acre Gator Mike’s property. Quickly, he’d put in a one-acre woodsball course there.
However he wasn’t finished but.
“I began desirous about, ‘Nicely, what else?’” he says. “I must develop the remainder of the property.”
That led him to the concept of live shows, a drive-in movie show and a restaurant — issues that might develop the park’s hour’s later into the evening and probably entice new prospects from throughout Southwest Florida.
Scuderi thought laborious about what he wished to deliver to Gator Mike’s and what issues would work effectively collectively. For instance, folks can order Mellow Mushroom meals and eat it of their automobiles whereas watching a film. And for live shows, these theater parking areas can double as live performance parking — sufficient for the 5,000-7,000 folks he hopes to attract for big-name acts reminiscent of 38 Particular and Everclear (the latter already scheduled for Dec. 4).
Mellow Mushroom, he thought, could be extra of a draw then different eating places. The chain is understood for its enjoyable vibe, funky pizzas and hippie-inspired décor.
“Mellow Mushroom is an expertise restaurant,” Scuderi says. “It’s high-end craft pizza, high-end craft drinks. However the expertise, while you go there, it’s visible, overwhelming. And the youngsters find it irresistible.”
The restaurant may have 215 seats, each indoors and outside, and a workers of a minimum of 75 staff (plus one other 5-10 working the drive-in theater), he says.
As for the movie show, Scuderi plans to put in two 30-foot tall, 50-foot-wide film screens: One dealing with north, the opposite dealing with south. Every display screen may accommodate 40 automobiles, he says.
Folks will tune their radios to a selected station to listen to the movies’ audio, they usually can order meals, drinks and cocktails from Mellow Mushroom on-line. Servers will ship it to their automobiles utilizing a golf cart, he says.
The drive-in could be solely the second movie show in Cape Coral. Scuderi plans to point out classics, children films and first-run movies — almost certainly from December by Might, throughout vacationer season and dry season.
The thought for the theater got here in the course of the pandemic, he says. It offers folks a protected, socially distant place to observe films collectively.
“COVID performed a giant half,” Scuderi says. “There’s additionally nostalgia. Lots of people have actually fond reminiscences of the drive-in.”
For the live shows, Scuderi plans to hire an outside stage and sound gear, at first. However he may ultimately construct his personal, as a substitute.
“We have now the area,” he says. “We have now the electrical.”
All these adjustments may have an enormous financial affect for Cape Coral, Whaley says.
Gator Mike’s already brings in about 250,000 folks a 12 months, she says, however that would develop to 500,000 or extra with these new additions. Mellow Mushroom, alone, is anticipated to herald about 200,000-220,000 folks a 12 months, she says.
That, in flip, will generate much more property and gross sales tax that the town can use to repair roads and do different vital tasks, she says.
“Chris is investing over $5 million in these two tasks, with out the price of the land as well as,” Whaley says. “That reveals his dedication to Cape Coral and to serving to the residents right here and to turning into the leisure mecca space. So we’re fairly excited.”
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