Army Vet Wants To Open Virtual Sports Complex In WatertownPosted: Updated:
Bill Gaudette is hoping to open a business that he's been brainstorming for the last three years - a virtual sports complex where people can play a variety of sports on a simulation device and a projector screen.
"I wanted something the whole family could come and enjoy and not cost a lot of money to do and bring the community as a whole out of their houses to do something in the wintertime," said Gaudette.
Gaudette presented his plans to the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency Tuesday.
He wants to build it at the former Cici's Pizza and Coldstone Creamery in Watertown's Stateway Plaza.
To start, Gaudette expects to bring in five gaming simulators - four golf and one simulator with a variety of sports.
He also wants to build a small cafe and bar inside.
The total project would cost $115,000.
The JCIDA's loan committee approved $40,000 and it will go before the full board for a vote next week.
"He's got the technical background doing this type of stuff. He's got some business background, the technical skills. He's done a lot of ground work and brought forth a package the committee felt comfortable with," said David Zembiec, deputy CEO of the JCIDA.
As a retired Army veteran from Fort Drum, Gaudette says he spent a lot of time working with simulators.
He also wants to cater to both younger and older generations in the area, so they don't have to travel to play golf and other sports in the winter.
"Thinking about which five simulators I wanted to put in first, why not bring the golfers to our community and keep them in our community instead of sending them down to Syracuse," said Gaudette.
If all goes as planned and Gaudette secures the remaining funds for the project, he hopes to open his business in January.