By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
Get ready for take-off!
Once the wind tunnel is tested for safety, the interior and exterior areas completed, the electrical wiring finalized and the decorations put in place, the new Rosemont iFly Indoor Skydiving simulator is expected to open this June.
Skyventure and its brand, iFly Indoor Skydiving, is located in the village’s entertainment district, MB Financial Park at Rosemont, directly north of the Hofbrauhaus beer hall. Construction began last fall and when open, it becomes the tenth venue inside the district that is comprised of restaurants, bars, a comedy club and Muvico Theatre.
“The weather has been tricky and has set us back a bit,” iFly’s Chief Marketing Officer Stuart Wallock told the Journal this week. “Once all construction and testing is completed, it looks like we could have a soft opening either by Apr. 15 or in late April with a grand opening six to eight weeks later.
“We do a lot of tests on the wind tunnel to make sure it is safe and ready to go,” Wallock said. “Once everything is completed and we receive our certificate of occupancy we’ll open the doors. We, along with many of the local Rosemont area skydiving community, are looking forward to the opening.”
The simulator testing is expected to begin in the next couple of weeks.
The June grand opening will probably be a daylong event with a ribbon cutting along with special guests, charity events and demonstrations, Wallock added. Company founder Alan Metni is expected to attend.
“We expect to see a lot of area skydivers at our opening,” Wallock said.
Skyventure’s beginnings date back to 1999 when Metni, a world-class champion skydiver, accidentally came upon an enclosed wind tunnel in Orlando, FL. After studying the device, he realized it closely duplicated the free fall experience of skydiving when someone jumps out of an airplane and before they pull the ripcord of a parachute.
Metni purchased the simulator idea and developed the Skyventure business, which now includes 28 locations worldwide. A new location just opened in Dallas. Rosemont will be the 29th Skyventure location and Naperville the 30th. Other locations include Austin, TX where the business is headquartered, Orlando, Seattle and San Francisco. Future locations include Houston, Los Angeles, D.C. and New York City.
The iFly operation is located in an 8,000 sq. ft. building that includes a 68-ft. tall vertical wind tunnel and is expected to employ about 30 people. The business includes a shop where customers can purchase items like coffee mugs, hats, photographs and a video of themselves experiencing skydiving.
On average, the owners expect to draw at least 250,000 people a year