Old Verdi Club being transformed into family fun centre

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Windsor Star/Mary Caton




Indoor bocce is out as the old Verdi Club undergoes an extensive renovation under new ownership with a fresh vision.

Partners Brad Hearn and Terry Jones are bringing in bowling, laser tag, an arcade and go-carts as they rebrand the place into a family-oriented attraction.

The Fort Family Fun Centre will also feature six outdoor volleyball courts and a campground with approximately 150 sites for both transient and seasonal clients.

The campground and volleyball courts will replace the driving range.

The area that used to house the bocce courts will soon hold six bowling lanes, a couple of private party rooms and an arcade while the main banquet hall will give way to 4,500 square feet of laser tag.

“Terry and I have been kicking around something like this for years,” Hearn said. “We both have young families, all our friends have young families and we got tired of basically having to drive somewhere to do something.”

The time to act on their plan arrived when the Verdi Club, with its 14 acres of property went up for sale.

The deal closed Jan. 6 and construction began immediately.

The restaurant reopened two weeks ago offering pub-style fare such as wraps, burgers and wings.

Hearn expects bowling to be up and rolling by early April with laser tag and the arcade to follow in short order.

“By June, everything will be swinging away,” said Hearn, who will juggle this new venture with his full-time job as vice-president of Don Hearn and Sons Inc.

Same juggling act goes for Jones, who’s president of the Jones Group Inc.

To that end, they’ve hired Doug Clarke to manage the place.

Clarke brings along more than 30-plus years of experience from Rose Bowl Lanes in Windsor.

The building’s tired facade will also undergo a makeover, giving it a fort-like appearance.

“The whole theme is like the fort you build in the back yard as a kid, a place where you went to hang out and play with your friends,” Hearn said.

When everything is up and running, Hearn expects to employ 70 people in a mix of full- and part-time positions.