Local developer Steve Williams held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday afternoon at the family entertainment center he plans to open this fall.

Williams said the new facility, called Shindig, is more than a decade in the making, and has its roots in a loan he took out in 2008 with plans to open a bowling alley.

The economy soured before Williams could even break ground, leaving the project financially non-viable, and on indefinite hiatus. Now his vision is finally underway -- or at least, something like it.

"This business has evolved into a family entertainment center, and what we're about to build is something that Tuscaloosa has never seen before," Williams said.

The new facility is being build at 5800 McFarland Boulevard, across the street from Townsend Ford and before UpSurge trampoline park and the Super Skate rink up the road.

 

Willaims said Shindig will feature blacklight mini-golf, laser tag, eight lanes of bowling, a 300-capacity music hall, axe-throwing lanes and old-timey pinball machines.

"We're not building some hangout," Williams said. "We building a family entertainment center, with something for the whole family to do."

Williams was joined at the ground-breaking by several community leaders, including County Commissioner Mark Nelson and Tuscaloosa City Councilman Matt Calderone.

"In Tuscaloosa, we're fortunate to have many events like this throughout the year, and today we're celebrating the number of jobs being created, we're celebrating a $6 million investment in Tuscaloosa and a 51,000-square foot facility," Calderone said. "As if that were not enough, speaking as a father and a city councilman, what we're really celebrating is something great for the people of Tuscaloosa and of West Alabama."

Nelson echoed those sentiments and said for too long, residents of West Alabama have spent their time and money at similar facilities in other counties or states.

"So often we've been to the beach and gone to similar places down there and it just wasn't the same -- you always wanted to be able to do that here," Nelson said. "As someone who's grown up in Tuscaloosa, I think this is an important piece and a great piece."

Chris Gunter of Buffalo Rock - Pepsi welcomed Shindig to Tuscaloosa on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. Suzanne Dardin of the University of Alabama's Small Business Development Center Network was recognized for the assistance she provided Williams and his team, and Jay Saladino of Brunswick Bowling said his company would consult with Shindig as they design and build their bowling lanes.

"There's been a lot of discussions here lately about what it means to have a changing economy, an event-based economy, and I tell you what -- this nails it, Steve," Gunter said. "We just know you're going to be successful."

Shindig is set to open this fall, a more specific date has not yet been set. Stay tuned to this website for more information as it becomes available.