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Laser tag, axe throwing, bowling headed to former fairgrounds – Memphis TN

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A 40,000-square-foot arcade and entertainment venue called High 5 has committed to come to the Liberty Park campus.


The Austin, Texas-based company also will build a 25,000-square-foot outdoor miniature golf course in the City of Memphis’ mixed-use development of the former Fairgrounds.


In a related development, the City of Memphis has hired as a development consultant, the Bender-Carey Group, which will help recruit more development partners and funding for the sports and event center with 277,000 square feet of facilities on 168 acres.


Bender-Carey Group executed the letter of intent with High 5 Entertainment, according to a news release.


Bender-Carey Group joins Capstone Development, M&M Enterprises and Eastern Sports Management in helping the city develop Liberty Park.


“We’re thrilled to bring opportunities to Memphis and sell the narrative of Liberty Park alongside this impressive team,” Bender-Carey Group president and chief executive Kristie Bender-Carey said in the release. “It’s an ideal opportunity zone funding situation, and we are having very fruitful conversations with interested parties as a result.”

High 5 is planning its 65,000-square-foot development in the heart of Liberty Park’s 18-acre private development. That part of Liberty Park will be on the northeast side of the old Fairgrounds, with frontage along Central Avenue. The private development also will house public plazas, two hotels, office space, retail and dining space, and residential apartments.


Liberty Park will be High 5’s third location.


High 5 at Liberty Park will include bowling, a “state-of-the-art” laser tag arena, golf simulators, ropes courses, escape rooms, and axe throwing.


The venue also will offer a virtual reality and video game arcade, restaurant and bars, and an upstairs for private bowling and meetings.


“When we learned about Liberty Park and the synergy of all that’s there and on the way – from sports to the Children’s Museum, neighboring college campuses and Liberty Bowl football games – we easily concluded that Liberty Park is the ideal spot in the community to bring the joy and excitement of High 5,” High 5 founder Scott Emley said in the release.


“We know the City of Memphis has worked very hard to assemble a great program for everyone living in or visiting Memphis, and we at High 5 are humbled and excited at the opportunity to join the program,” he said.


Construction is expected to start early next year, and the opening of High 5 to occur before the 2022 holiday season.


“The City of Memphis is thrilled to have such a valued partner in High 5,” Mayor Jim Strickland said in the release. “This partnership will further ensure that Liberty Park becomes another crown jewel for our city and an entertainment destination people will not want to miss.”


Paul Young, director of the city’s Housing & Community Development division, said, “The continued development of Liberty Park serves to enhance the sports, entertainment and family-friendly offerings available to both locals and visitors. A vibrant campus with year-round activity will benefit all, and we’re excited High 5 is investing in and contributing to that vibrancy.”


Shawn Massey and Dustin Jones of The Shopping Center Group represented Liberty Park in the lease transaction. High 5 was represented by Tim Henson of Venture Commercial Real Estate and Bryan Cornelius of Retail Union.


Liberty Park’s phased openings are expected to start in early 2022.


“High 5 is the perfect complement to our sports and events center, providing a safe entertainment outlet for traveling athletic tournament families and even adding to the lineup of league sports with state-of-the-art bowling lanes,” John Wack, president of Eastern Sports Management, said in the release.


Eastern Sports is managing and operating the 227,000-square-foot Memphis Sports & Events Center, which will be on the southwest portion of the old Fairgrounds. It will feature adaptable indoor hardcourts and outdoor turf fields for different competitive youth sports and community functions.



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