News Column

Austin-based Pinballz Arcade expanding into Hays County

June 13, 2014

By Gary Dinges, Austin American-Statesman



June 13--BUDA -- BUDA --

Austin'sPinballz Arcade is expanding into Hays County, with plans to transform an abandoned truck stop in Buda into an entertainment complex with laser tag, mini bowling, a restaurant, three bars, a stage for live music and, yes, plenty of new and vintage arcade games.

The new location is at 15201 S. Interstate 35, site of the former Dorsett 221 truck stop, which closed almost a decade ago. Darren Spohn, who owns Pinballz with his wife Mikki, said he hopes to be up and running by the July 4 holiday.

"That's our goal because there's a lot of money to be made that weekend," he said. "Plus, the people out there are going crazy. They're anxious for us to open because there's nothing like this down there."

Pinballz' original location is a 13,000-square-foot arcade at 8940 Research Blvd. in North Austin. After about four years in business, Spohn said, the company is ready to expand.

"It's become so popular," he said, "so we wanted to do something bigger and better. Buda made sense because it's a developing area along a growing corridor."

The former truck stop, built to resemble a stone castle, seemed like a perfect fit, Spohn said. The building sits on a 13-acre site just east of I-35.

The new location, to be called Pinballz Kingdom, will largely look the same as it does now from the outside. Inside, though, virtually everything will be new. The total cost of the renovations -- which added new air conditioning and sprinkler systems, spaces for parties and corporate events and a new kitchen complete with an artisan pizza oven, among other things -- will be about $6 million, Spohn said.

"We had to redo it all," he said. "We pretty much took it down to a shell."

A second phase of the project will eventually add go karts and miniature golf, Spohn said.

A third Pinballz location is in the works, as well, Spohn said.

"We're definitely doing more of these," he said. "Each one will be a little different, with its own personality."

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Source: Austin American-Statesman (TX)