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Entrepreneur plans to revive East Side rink with skating, bumper cars, laser tag

A self-described "serial entrepreneur" who already owns a print shop and an asbestos-abatement company now wants to get into the entertainment field.

Pharaoh Paige and business partner Carlanda Meadors want to reopen the former Arcadia Roller Rink at 30 E. Amherst St. as a "family fun center" called Zone One Entertainment Complex, offering bumper cars, laser tag and children's parties in addition to roller-skating for adults. Plans also call for food and beverage service, including a liquor license.

The Buffalo Planning Board on Monday recommended approval by the Common Council of a special-use permit to allow the new rink. If the Council approves, Paige hopes to open in early March.

"One of the things we lack in Buffalo is we lack the entertainment in the inner city," said Paige, who has two children, ages 3 and 4. "That’s what transitioned me to create that space for babies, teens and adults."

A key focus of the venture, operated by Live Communication Group Inc., is to satisfy a desire among adults in the surrounding neighborhoods for a place to skate nearby. Another roller-skating facility, Kiddy Skateland, at 33 E. Ferry St., caters to children, but the nearest adult rinks are at RiverWorks downtown or at Rainbow Rink in North Tonawanda.

"We’ve been moving from place to place just to skate, and a lot of the skaters in this city don’t choose to go to the other rinks because they’re so far," said Kenneth Lott, a supporter of Paige's effort.

Paige and Meadors are seeking to broaden the appeal to ensure the success of Zone One. "One of the things we believe is important is that we have enough revenue from a marketing standpoint to stay open," Paige said. "No one is skating for eight hours."

The goal is to provide a mixture of activities for all ages in a family atmosphere. While teenagers will be allowed, Paige and Meadors want to control how many will be present, and will implement strict security and zero-tolerance policies to prevent bad behavior.

The project will cost about $45,000 to $50,000. The property, which has been vacant for more than a decade, is owned by Beach Elmwood Properties LLC. Paige will operate under a 10-year lease.

The 20,000-square-foot building will include a 13,000-square-foot skating rink, as well as three to four party rooms. Paige said he plans to keep the existing snack bar, but will redesign it to make it easier to access. He also plans to knock down a nearby wall and create a separate platform sports bar area with televisions, so patrons "can see the atmosphere and enjoy while the kids are playing."

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