Commission signs off on big Chandler go-kart venue - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Commission signs off on big Chandler go-kart venue

May 10th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Commission signs off on big Chandler go-kart venue

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is racing toward opening a mega-entertainment venue in Chandler in summer 2023.

The Chandler Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of Andretti’s new facility at the southwest corner of the San Tan Loop 202 Freeway and Cooper Road on April 20. The preliminary development plan next goes to City Council for approval, probably this month.

The entertainment complex includes a three-level go-kart racing track, a “dark ride,” laser tag and a large gaming center. Chad Montgomery, the director of real estate and development for Andretti, said some games would likely include virtual reality headsets with omni-directional treadmills.

The plan also calls for private rooms for parties and food and beverage areas when visitors need a break from the fun. Named after racing legend Mario Andretti, the company operates six venues in Florida, Georgia and Texas. This would be the first location in Arizona and, like the others, is billed as a family entertainment center.

In addition to the three levels, the go-kart track includes hairpin turns for the electric-motor karts.

“[They can go] 35 miles per hour,” Montgomery said. “We’ll do like 150 arcade games, bowling lanes, laser tag, a number of virtual reality experiences.”

On its website, the company states, “Experience the adrenaline rush of our electric go-kart races with instant acceleration as you put the pedal to the metal around hairpin turns, up and down elevation changes and long straightaways on our indoor climate-controlled tracks.”

“Andretti’s racing simulators are the most advanced on the market and deliver big-time on thrills and heart-pounding excitement,” the company brags. “It’s so realistic that you actually feel the motion and vibrations of the car, experience the tension in the seatbelt, and hear the sounds of the race track.”

With panoramic screens, the simulators “are the same kind that professional race car drivers use,” the company said, and its “full motion actuators…give the feel of driving at high speeds.”

Another attraction, called the 7D Xperience, offers “a 3D interactive movie experience with amazing special effects. Up to eight riders at a time compete for the highest score using laser blasters and battling on-screen enemies. You actually feel the earth-rumbling movement and wind,” the website states.

Go-kart racing ranges in price from $23 for a single adult spin along the track on weekdays to a $55 three-race package. Other attractions range in price from $11 for a 10-minute weekday laser tag experience to $30 to $35 for bowling for an hour with up to six people on one lane to a $90 VIP package that combines one race, six other attractions and a $10 game card.

Patrons who posted reviews on travel sites gave various Andretti Indoor Karting Venues generally high marks. While some posts warned of sticker shock, the pricing apparently is no major obstacle: the Orlando, Florida, venue reportedly draws close to a half million guests a year.

Florida developer Eddie Hamann opened the original Andretti Indoor Karting and Games in Roswell in 1999, naming it after his friend Mario Andretti, one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, the World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR.

Montgomery said they expect Council to vote on the development plan in May and break ground in the third quarter of this year. He said if that happens, they expect to open in the summer of 2023.

While there was no controversy or debate in the commission’s review and approval of the Andretti development, a proposed apartment complex at Pecos Road and Pleasant Drive provoked complaints.

Two residents spoke against the developer’s request for approval to build 24 apartments on about two acres. The neighbors said they were concerned about people parking on Pleasant Drive, which would limit access to their Fairview Meadows subdivsion.

One also expressed concern about privacy, saying the setback requirements were not large enough. She also said she was concerned about living next to a transient population because it’s a rental complex.

The developer agreed to make the four units closest to the Fairview Meadows homes single-story after listening to concerns from those residents. The rest of the units would be two stories.

The city requires at least 51 parking spaces and that is how many the developer is planning to provide. Residents said they fear more will be needed, which they said could lead to people parking on Pleasant. One neighbor said that is already taking place and there are times he has to drive between parked cars on both sides now.

Kevin Mayo, the city’s planning administrator, said the city looks at parking issues on a regular basis and if it becomes a concern on Pleasant, the city could turn it into a no parking zone.

With that, the commission voted to recommend council approval of the apartment complex.

The commission also recommended approval for a new home on a vacant lot near the Chicago and California intersection in historic downtown.

The home has a modern design, which will stand out among neighboring homes built more than 90 years ago.

Harley Mehlhorn, the city planner, said there are no historic districts in Chandler that restrict what homeowners can do with their property. He said if someone wanted to buy one of the historic downtown homes, tear it down and build a new home on that property, they could.

“Per the General Plan and area plan guidance, there is guidance on creating more of an urban feel in the area,” Mehlhorn said. “That being said, obviously, sensitivity to scale is very important there, so finding a consistency between more neutral colors and neutral types of materials was important there.”

The proposed home would house the Moore family and would have two bedrooms and two dens as well as a multi-car garage. The lot was originally zoned for multi-family development, so the Moores need approval to build a single-family home on it instead.