VINELAND— A city developer plans to convert a former supermarket into a family entertainment complex with a bowling alley, children’s party center, restaurant and retail stores.
Developer Frank Guaracini Jr., of Vineland, announced the development of a 75,000-square-foot complex Friday at a press conference in City Hall.
Guaracini, owner of Frank’s Realty Co., said he has several tenants in mind, including the Best of Entertainment dance studio and a new children’s party center operated by Michael and Donna Froumy, owners of the South Jersey party-store chain Fro Me a Party.
He expects the complex on North Delsea Drive to provide at least 150 jobs in Vineland.
“We said, ‘What is lacking in our city the most? What kind of project will enhance the marketplace?’” Guaracini said. “There isn’t that much to do in Vineland, so we decided to zero in on entertainment.”
Vineland has not had a bowling alley since Loyle Lanes was destroyed by arson in 2010.
“That has been a void,” Guaracini said. “This will be a family-oriented destination.”
Bottino’s ShopRite moved from that location into a new supermarket in Vineland last year. Guaracini’s company in 2002 developed the $4 million Vineland Regional Transportation Center, among other projects,
Guaracini said he plans to invest about $10 million in renovations to make the old supermarket ready for its new tenants.
At least part of the financing will come from the city’s Urban Enterprise Zone funds, he said.
Michael Froumy said he plans to have three children’s party rooms along with laser tag and DayGlo golf in his new party store.
His smaller Vineland store can’t meet demand now for children’s party dates, he said. That store hosted 1,250 parties since it opened five years ago.
The new store will occupy about one-third of the former supermarket. Froumy said he expected to host as many as many as 60 parties per week at the center, drawing families to Vineland from across South Jersey.
“You can make a day of it. Drop the kids off and go to the bowling alley, have dinner at the sports bar. We love it,” he said.
Mayor Ruben Bermudez said he was pleased to see interest in new development in the city and the commitment by Guaracini’s company.
“I was impressed. He’s not someone who gives up. I always admired that about Frank. He’s determined. Nothing can stop him. That’s the kind of thing we need to be around,” Bermudez said.
The project could attract satellite businesses to that part of Delsea Drive, said Dawn Hunter, director of the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce.
“We see it as the first of many new developments in that area,” she said.
Guaracini said he is soliciting other tenants and is pursuing a liquor license for the restaurant.
He is working with Archetto Construction Inc., of Vineland.
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