Sunday, January 5, 2020

[ON THE "MOVE"] Andretti Abandons Roswell in Favor of Shiny New Buford Location

The original location of Andretti Indoor Karting & Games has closed and will be "moving" to Buford.  The entertainment facility is expected to help anchor the new "The Exchange at Gwinnett" mixed-use development just off 1-85 in Gwinnett County.  The original Andretti, then known as "Andretti Speed Lab"  and located at 11000 Alpharetta Highway, first opened in  early 2001.  The new Buford location is expected to debut in early 2021, according to a Wednesday post on the business's Facebook page.

The 100,000 square foot indoor go-kart, arcade bar & restaurant facility made use of a former Sam's Club for their original location.  Originally geared toward corporate team-building, the business has evolved into a more family-friendly attraction.  There is reportedly interest from several car dealerships in taking over the former Andretti site in Roswell.    

The namesake's family had been lending their name to the facility until 2005, which is when the Andrettis - Mario, son Michael Andretti and nephew John - bought and renovated the space. 

The Andrettis added a second Atlanta area location in late 2015.  The Marietta outpost, which made use of a onetime Woolco, opened along Roswell Road with visibility from I-75.  The company entered central Florida in late 2017 with a 150,000 square foot facility just off International Drive.  In late 2018, the company entered Texas with a 90,000 square foot facility in San Antonio.  Both the Orlando and San Antonio locations are situated alongside TopGolf, an unrelated business, but one that the company has found compliments their offerings well.  The Buford location will also open alongside Atlanta's third TopGolf facility.  

Andretti is expected to open a new location in the Houston suburb of Katy this coming spring, and is reportedly interested in opening a second Orlando area outpost in the future.  

When it opens, the new Buford Andretti will likely sport some of the more recently introduced entertainment offerings such as duck-pin bowling and virtual reality, along with laser tag, ropes course, zip lining, mini-golf and arcade games.  

The Exchange at Gwinnett, a new development spanning 100 acres, is expected to include in addition to Andretti and TopGolf, about 1,000 apartments, a food hall, Rooms To Go, Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and various other restaurant and retail offerings. 

The idea that the facility is "relocating" to Buford is a joke, when you consider that the two sites are about 25 miles apart.  It's also unfortunate to see the company abandon a community that helped build the business. 

Given Andretti's reasoning for the move is at least in part due to the fact that that current facility was "outdated," look for the same reasoning to be provided when Studio Movie Grill ultimately closes their Holcomb Bridge Road location (their first in metro Atlanta) when they open next year along North Point Parkway.  The idea of the movie theater "moving" is far more reasonable here when you consider that the two sites serve similar communities and are only about five miles apart.  

Are you disappointed to see Andretti close their Roswell location?  Are you looking forward to the new Buford development?  Where would you like to see Andretti open next?

Please share your thoughts below  

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