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New business plans lots of fun

A massive new recreation center will be opening in Portsmouth in late September, chock full of things that will appeal to the young and young-at-heart.

TimbukTu, a 27,000-square-foot facility, hopes to be a main attraction in the Hampton Roads area. The center will replace the Kroger on High Street in Churchland.

“We hope to be welcomed and to provide a place for kids to do extracurricular activities outside of sports,” said Leslie Rinaldi, co-owner of TimbukTu.

The center will feature a two-story, 4,500-square-foot laser tag arena, a laser maze, an arcade room and an indoor playground. These amenities are projected to take up about 20,000 square feet.

The remaining 7,000 feet will be designated for a rock climbing wall and a ropes course. These additions are slated for next year.

The center will also have a concessions area and 10 party rooms to host birthday parties and special engagements.

The owners, Joseph and Leslie Rinaldi, began drafting ideas for the center back in 2009. However, the business was not officially established until last year.

In addition to entertainment, TimbukTu hopes to be involved in the community.

“We want to support the Suffolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth area by hosting fundraisers and other events,” said Leslie.

“For each fundraising event, 10 percent of all proceeds will go towards the event,” Leslie said. “These events can make upwards of $400.”

The owners hope to finalize leasing by the end of the month and begin construction soon after. McKenzie Construction Corporation, based in Virginia Beach, will head facility construction.

Projected costs for construction will be about $900,000 and about $1.2 million for facility equipment, said Leslie.

TimbukTu plans to hire its employees about 30 days out from its grand opening. The owners hope to have 30 people on staff — four full-time and 26 part-time.

Leslie is optimistic about what the future holds for the center.

“There has been a great response from our social media marketing and we hope it continues,” Leslie said.