To say Matt Langer is excited about creating what he believes will become a regional destination family fun center along Langer Farms Parkway in Sherwood is an understatement.
A long-time Sherwood resident — whose family roots date back 140 years —Langer recently described his plans for creating a $30 million, 54,000-square-foot project that will go by the family name and its ties to the Sherwood area: "Langer's: Since 1879."
"I've been designing this for over 10 years, mostly working with my wife (Nikki) and planning this thing out," Langer explained during a recent on-site interview inside the site's construction trailer, just south of the Walmart Superstore, built on family property and opened in 2014. "We wanted to create a space where family and friends of all ages can gather and spend quality time together and at the same time, create a unique place for Oregon to celebrate the history and the beauty of the great Pacific Northwest."
When it opens sometime in the fall, the entertainment complex will contain a three-story rock-climbing wall and accompanying ropes course along with a 22-lane bowling alley, a sports bar and restaurant with 224 beer taps, a two-story Pacific Northwest-themed laser tag facility and more.
Then, in another year, construction will begin on an adjacent 40,000- square-foot covered track designed for high-speed, electric go-carts.
The motif in the facility pay homage to Oregon and the timber industry, as well as to Sherwood itself. The entire bowling area — which includes four private lanes — will commemorate Sherwood's early glory days when a cannery and brick factory dominated the landscape.
Pence Construction is the general contractor for the project, which sits on a total of 15 acres of property owned by the Langer family. When all is said and done, the adjacent property will contain five more retail buildings, said Langer, a former member of the Sherwood City Council.
No expense has been spared to make the facility look attractive and the exterior will include one-inch-thick cedar skirl siding that accentuates the 57-foot-tall building.
Every Tuesday, Langer meets with his construction supervisors to go over the minutest details of his creation.
"That's the fun of it," he said.
The entertainment complex also will include a three-story "soft play" area for younger children, complete with both a one-story-tall spiral slide and a straight racing slide.
"I've done the racing slide," Langer said. "It's pretty fast."
Food fare in the facility will include pizza along with burgers and fries, he said.
Throughout the course of designing the center, Langer did his homework, chatting with owners of family entertainment center throughout the United States during annual conferences and conventions.
"From all those years of conversations with veterans in the industry, we just cherry-picked the best stuff we thought would be appropriate and bring fun and experiences to Sherwood," he said, noting that a decade of research has made a difference. "Having put this together in a year or two, it would be totally different."
The original family homestead is in back of the rising entertainment center, where a lone American chestnut tree that's estimated to be more than 100 years old marks the old homestead. Originally planning to take down the chestnut tree, Langer said it will remain standing with hopes of someday using it as part of a future park or green space.
Other highlights of the center include:
• A Thunder Mountain-ish cabin built by a firm out of Southern California that does work for Walt Disney Co., something he found during a Global Association for the Attractions Industry convention.
"It's two (stories) with a live-action water wheel," he said. "When you walk in the front door, that's what you'll see, there's the ticket booth cabin but it also has a party room up above it that will mainly be used most of the time as a quiet place for parents who want to get away with maybe the tiniest ones."
A coffee shop will be inside the cabin as well.
• A three-story ropes course that goes up 56 feet. On every column that looks like a tree, there's a platform. To replicate the indoor fir trees, Langer had 20-foot-tall steal columns wrapped in synthetic "bark" that is so realistic-looking that a woodpecker pecked a hole through the top of an outdoor prototype model.
• An American-Ninja-Warrior-type obstacle course.
• An upper floor that includes a glassed-in area for parents with another bar and vintage arcade along with pool and darts.
• An eight-foot diameter gas-fed fireplace along with a giant black metal chimney suspended to the ceiling and its 40-feet-long, glued and laminated wooden beams by huge logger chains. All around the fireplace will be 24 seats made of log rounds from Langer's ranch, along with soft seating as well. A sequoia redwood tree struck by lightning on the family property not long ago is being turned into bar tops and countertops made by local wood maker Terry Bowman.
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