Published: Jan 22, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Jan 22, 2013 09:50 AM
APEX - Start your engines, pull on your harness, or grab a surfboard.
Apex could soon get a lot more fun.
Two indoor amusement projects are in the works that would bring a new range of activities to southwestern Wake County.
Carolina Sports Holdings announced Tuesday that it plans to build a 145,000-square-foot sports park on Lufkin Road. The facility would feature indoor skydiving, trampolines, a skateboard park, indoor surfing and bungee jumping.
Separately, Rod Graff and former Apex Town Councilman Carl Helton want to build a family-fun park on a 23-acre site at U.S. 64 and Goodwin Road. Plans for the park include go-carts, an arcade, bowling, ziplining, miniature golf and athletic fields.
The Carolina Sports Holdings project is being touted as the nation’s first extreme sports adrenaline park and is expected to bring in about 300,000 people in its first year, said company spokesman Myles Owens III.
Owens said the Apex facility would be unique because it would house about a dozen extreme sports under one roof.
“From an amusement park standpoint, this will put Apex on the map,” he said. “We thought about doing something that’s never been done before.”
The first development phase of the project, which includes a trampoline gym, could open later this year, Owens said. The timing will depend on the company’s ability to buy the site and obtain permits from the town.
Carolina Sports Holdings is still in the process of buying the property at 810 Lufkin Road, the former site of the Henry Wurst printing company. The property is valued at about $6.1 million, according to Wake County property records. The right fit
The company also looked at potential locations in Raleigh, Cary, and near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Owens said.
Apex rose to the top of the list, he said, because it had a viable site that is tall enough for extreme sports.
The population boom in southwestern Wake was also a plus, he said.
Steve Myers, an investor with Carolina Sports Holdings, owns Dreamsports Center, a recreation business in Apex. The 56,000-square-foot facility features multi-purpose fields, indoor artificial-turf fields and an arcade.
Otherwise, Owens said, Apex doesn’t have many indoor-fun options.
“That’s one of our greatest challenges – keeping up with the demand for activities for all ages,” said Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly.
He said the possibility of Apex getting two new amusement centers is exciting, but not surprising.
“They are coming because they are attracted to the proximity to a whole lot of people,” said Weatherly, adding that the newly opened stretch of the Triangle Expressway has helped kick start some projects. Concerned residents
Creating more family-oriented activities has become a race for developers, said real-estate agent Tom Calhoun, who is representing Graff.
But it’s already sparked controversy in Apex. Some residents who live off of Goodwin Road and Broken Yoke Trail near Graff’s proposed project said they were worried about safety hazards, traffic and strain to the area’s well-water system.
The Apex Town Council decided to put off consideration of the project’s rezoning request until Feb. 5 and asked the developer to work through some of the issues.