Dr. Bret Christensen discusses his proposed North Lewiston park with Lewiston Port Commission
An entertainment center proposed for North Lewiston would create 140 positions, including 55 full-time, living-wage jobs with medical insurance. That update was provided to the Lewiston Port Commission on Wednesday by Dr. Bret Christensen, the orthodontist who is hoping to open the business in two years.
Christensen has right of first refusal to lease 10 acres from the port for the project for $50,000 a year at the base of the Lewiston Hill overlooking the Snake and Clearwater rivers.
At previous meetings that Christensen didn’t attend, commissioners had wondered about the economic impact of the center.
“This has answered a lot of my questions, and I’m very excited to see the next step,” Commission President Mary Hasenoehrl said after hearing the presentation.
Commissioner Jerry Klemm said he still has some reservations about shifting the use of industrial land to recreation.
“I like what you’re doing, but I’m not totally sold,” he said.
Christensen is hoping to persuade the commission to back the 51,000-square-foot center, which he expects will draw more than 1,000 people a weekend from as far away as Dayton. It would be a venue for as many as 50 birthday parties a week with a restaurant, games, go-karts and laser tag.
“The majority of the profits would come from the food,” he said.
Christensen envisions a company that operates other restaurants, such as Red Robin, sending an executive chef who would stay for at least two years to create a “polished casual” restaurant that would serve beer and wine and have an outside deck overlooking the river.
Diners could play games like table tennis, bean bag toss and pickleball, some at no charge. An arcade would have video games, including many that could be played by multiple people at once.
“What we hope they do is come buy some food and have some fun with each other,” Christensen said.
Two go-kart tracks would have electric cars capable of going anywhere of between 5 mph and 45 mph. The range of speed would be controlled by computers, which typically would limit drivers to speeds no higher than 15 mph, but sometimes park goers would be allowed to go faster wearing helmets.
One family-friendly track would be 890 yards long. Another would have a slicker surface.
“They polish up the concrete and make it so you can drift as you go around the corners,” Christensen said.
A 6,000-square-foot laser tag arena would be split into two levels, with a computer and light system that would offer numerous games.