The cavernous bingo hall on 224th Street will soon be emptied out, as Chances, the new community gaming centre on Lougheed Highway, opens its doors.
The final touches are being put on the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s new gaming centre at Lougheed Highway and 227th Street.
Andy Lacroix, general manager of the local gaming centre, said that the centre is not meant as a regional destination, rather as a local entertainment venue.
“They’re more built for the community at large... [and are] meant to engage the community,” he said.
The bingo hall on 224th Street seats 500 people, whereas the new facility only has 200 bingo seats and 173 slots, as well as two e-tables – electronic gambling tables which might be blackjack or roulette.
Maple Ridge council recently approved up to 200 slot machines in the new building, however, Lacroix said, the plan is to have only 173 for now.
The new gaming centre has high ceilings and its design is modern industrial, Lacroix said, with metal details, reclaimed lumber, and features like a roll-down garage door to separate the restaurant into two spaces.
There is also a small entertainment area with a portable stage, which will allow for small acts.
Lacroix hopes that feature will attract local talent to perform and be a venue for local groups to book events.
“That’s what these [community gaming centres] are about – about the community,” he said.
All the staff from the current bingo hall, totalling about 50, are being asked to move to the new facility, and the gaming centre will be taking on more staff in the larger building.
The restaurant and bar will be called The Well, and it includes a full-service kitchen, patio area, and gas fireplace.
The gaming centre also includes a board room that can seat up to 40 people and can be booked by community groups. Another room, potentially a future banquet room, is yet to be finished, but will at some point accommodate 200 people for a variety of functions, Lacroix said.
Part of the agreement on building the new gaming centre to replace the old bingo hall on 224th Street was the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation would bridge the missing piece of 227th Street so that traffic can flow straight from the Haney Bypass into downtown Maple Ridge. The road is set to open soon.
When the gaming centre opens on Lougheed Highway, it will leave a gap on Maple Ridge’s main street, 224th Street at 119th Avenue – a potential retail hole of about 24,000 square feet.
Barry Tyldesley and Bernie Stoelzle, who have co-owned the property since 1985.
Tyldesley is hoping that Target, set to open in the old Zellers building across the street from the bingo hall. Tyldesley said he hopes the new American retail giant attracts business to the neighbourhood and subsequently to a potential tenant or tenants in the bingo hall.
“Our main strength is to be across from Target,” Tyldesley said. “And it’s an attractive street.”
It is zoned for almost any type of commercial use, from retail to assembly use.
“[Because it’s] C3 zoning, it could have anything,” Tyldesley said.
The building, built in 1962, was originally a Five and Dime and then it turned into a Wosk’s before it was taken over by bingo in 1985.
Tyldesley and Stoelzle have no plans to pull the building down and at this point it is being advertised for leasing by a company, CBRE, that markets across North America.
Because of its size, it could be divided into several sections, even becoming a mini-mall, Tyldesley said.
@ Copyright 2013