We were allowed to borrow the keys to the property last week to start cleaning, trying to get ahead of our anticipated launch date of Saturday, 29th June 2019. The legal side of things is still being finalised with our solicitors and everything looks set to complete soon.
Locals will remember 62-64 Piccadilly, Hanley as the old 'Pink' nightclub pre-2013 and more recently as a retro 80's themed cafe up until 2015. The property has been left empty and unused since then, gathering grime and dust... lots and lots of dust. Barrels of beer dated from 2013 are still left in the cellar!
Phase one of the transformation from a former nightclub and into Staffordshire's Premier Virtual Reality XPerience involved cleaning all of the windows, both inside and out. The empty building fell victim to fly-posters and graffiti over the years so it took a whole 2 days to remove layers of muck and posters just from the shop frontage. If it wasn't for the amazing owners of the adjacent Mart's Brewhouse & Tap (hopefully soon to be our neighbours) who let us borrow their razor sharp window scraping tool, we'd probably still be there now. If you haven't visited them before, we recommend you call in after visiting us for one of their hand-crafted pale ales.
In fact, all the small-business owners of the surrounding shops in Hanley's Cultural Quarter have been really welcoming and supportive of us arriving. The Cultural Quarter in Hanley is a really vibrant place to be both during the day and for nightlife. We've met the lovely team behind Pilgrims Pit opening their newly relocated premises across the road from us as well as Ali from AliRom currency exchange. During a break from the scrubbing, we've already treated ourselves to an amazing Slamwich, a speciality coffee rom the Quarter Cafe, some lunch from RAWR as well as a delicious cake from The Corner. On reflection, perhaps this is why the cleaning took so long?
We can't believe the transformation now that the premises has simply been cleaned from top to bottom. The windows are gleaming, floors are sparkling and the toilets are no longer a health hazard. It feels great to breathe new life and energy into a once unused and unloved building.
Behind the scenes, we've also been hard at work keeping the local courier companies and contractors very busy. We've taken delivery of 1 of 7 VR custom-spec computers, supplied by our friends at Overclockers, these will power our virtual reality gaming arenas and the HTC VIVE Pro headsets that players will wear to escape to their own virtual worlds. Our VR-WALK stations, XP-FLYING and XP-RACING 7D simulator machines have also arrived from overseas. Trowers Creative have also been hard at work finalising our new shop signage, window graphics, as well as publishing this brand new website.
The next phase of the transformation will begin once all the boring legal stuff has been completed. We'll be removing the former nightclub bars, repainting the entire premises inside and out, adding new lighting, signage and window decals as well as getting the property upgraded in terms of new H&S, fire and security legislation.
It's been hard work so far, but we're really enjoying it. The countdown is officially on and we're hoping to launch XP-VR Virtual Reality XPerience on 29 June 2019.
(p.s - don't forget that you can WIN A FREE VIRTUAL REALITY XPERIENCE FOR 2 just by entering our competition over on our facebook page. Click here for info. Competition closes 07/06/19)
Rhys and Lewis.