iFLY Indoor Skydiving makes the jump into Alpharetta

Indoor skydiving may descend into Alpharetta.

Austin, Texas-based iFLY Indoor Skydiving has filed plans with the city to build a new entertainment facility near Mansell Road and GA-400. If approved the facility would replace the empty restaurant building that was previously home to Champps Americana.

iFLYiFLY designs, manufactures, sells and operates wind tunnel systems for indoor skydiving. The company operates 34 facilities around the world and has rapid expansion plans this year.

iFLY offers guests the chance to experience the thrill of freefall without the risk of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Following a brief training session, fliers are outfitted in a jumpsuit, helmet and goggles before entering the wind tunnel with their certified instructor. First-time flyers float on the column of air and learn basic flying skills like moving forward and back and turning. With additional training, flyers can progress to group flying and advanced aerial gymnastic maneuvers to further enjoy the sport of indoor skydiving.

The facility will target multiple demographics including corporate team building events and families seeking unique entertainment options. Children as young as three years old can participate. Other iFLY locations offer STEM educational programs, something that could certainly grow wings in technology-centric Alpharetta.

iFLY’s proposed location would complement a soaring array of unique entertainment options along Alpharetta’s Mansell Road corridor. TopGolf targets a similar corporate clientele. The Alpharetta Family Skate Center/The Cooler is next door as is Main Event with bowling and laser tag.

The project continues another trend of demolishing and re-purposing restaurants along nearby North Point Parkway. Champps Americana closed about three years and the space mothballed. But at over 10,000 square feet, the building is almost unmarketable as a restaurant thanks to today’s smaller style of eatery. It will meet the same wrecking ball fate that befell TGI Friday’s a few months ago. Bahama Breeze’s former digs are not far behind and will be replaced with a furniture store.

But iFLY can’t take off right away. They will have to go through the paces of a rezoning in order to change a master plan. But from a 30,000 foot view it doesn’t seem likely they will face much headwind. Alpharetta shouldn’t pop the chute on the opportunity to host one of Georgia’s first indoor skydiving facilities. However the city may want to push back on building ascetics as some iFLY locations tend to resemble NASA buildings.

Do you think iFLY will make a big landing in Alpharetta? Are there any other skydiving metaphors we missed in this article? Leave a comment!

13 Responses to “iFLY Indoor Skydiving makes the jump into Alpharetta”

  1. A January 15, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    That whole stretch of Mansell/Westside Pkwy is turning into our own little theme park with the Cooler, Main Event, Top Golf and now this.

    I’m not sure how I feel about it. I still think the Top Golf netting is a huge eyesore and looks ghetto from any direction. The Alpharetta City Council really got hoodwinked on this and now they can’t do anything about it.

    I suppose it’s good that all these locations aren’t just falling into disrepair as many places either close entirely or move up the road to Avalon.

    BTW, any idea what’s going to happen to the old Regal Cinemas space next to Panera on Northpoint? Since the new theatre opened at Avalon the old one (which was terrible and we always avoided) looks abandoned.

  2. J January 15, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    Have you been to Top Golf? I don’t even notice the nets now but the place is really well done and a lot of fun.

  3. Dan January 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    Why have restaurants failed near north Point?

  4. Dave January 16, 2015 at 1:42 am #

    I love this! I’ve done iFly in Dallas and its a blast, this will fit right in. Great news—

  5. gnd January 16, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    Some of the restaurants have not failed but have been the victim of higher rents. TG Fridays and Bahama Breeze were both doing good( well, at least Bahama Breeze) but other retailer’s wanted those spots.

  6. SDD January 16, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Sounds pretty cool to me. I’d love to give it a try. Plus, Champps was pretty forgettable as restaurants go…

  7. greggy January 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    I’ll try the flying thing. Ya champs was the most average place ever. Also I agree the Top golf place is a huge eyesore even from 400 UGLYYYYYYYYYYY

  8. Cool Papa Bell January 17, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    The reason restaurants have failed along North Point Parkway is they all sucked. Joe’s Crap Shack is the ultimate bottom of the barrel. Bahama Breeze had a nice deck and not much else. Anyone who wanted good food had plenty of options within two miles.

    Even the decent Persian place was too much trouble to get in and out of for slightly above average food.

  9. Greg January 18, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    If they build it, I guarantee I will spend at least $1k a month there – and I know quite a few more that will as well. Seriously, the economic impact of an indoor wind tunnel and the tourism it will generate from the skydiving community should not be underestimated.

  10. Family Guy January 19, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    More foodsnobbery…

    Joes, Bahama Breeze, etc, were great places to take a family. Not everyone wants fine dining, all the time. You can have your snooty table-clothed restaurants and $$$$ menus, but believe it or not, MOST people enjoy eating at chain restaurants with a fun atmosphere and affordable menu.

    And yes, Top Golf is awesome and this Skydive place will just increase Alpharetta as a destination. My office is in Buckhead, and it is amazing how many companies have outings in Alpharetta/Roswell because THERE IS NOTHING TO DO around Buckhead for groups. Any event in town is a hassle because parking is sparse, space is sparse, etc etc.

  11. Rat January 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    having worked at a tunnel, I will tell you the surrounding skydivers will be all over this. But they won’t be flying during “normal” business hours. It’s too expensive for the tunnel and skydivers during that time.

    Most of the money made from a wind tunnel is from first-time flyers, not military or skydivers. However, skydivers bring s level of excitement when flying to customers that want to fly too.

    Recirculating tunnels are not eye sores, and for the most part, the new ones you wouldn’t even be able to tell that the building houses a tunnel. The noises from a tunnel is minimal, and you really don’t know they are there.

  12. Cool Papa Bell January 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    Ah see Family Guy, there is where you are dead wrong. Adele’s has substantially better seafood for a lot less money that that overpriced awful Crap Shack. I can go two miles down the road to Caribbean Fiesta and get the same items much better and cheaper than BB. Compare the quality and price of paella at Breeze to the same dish at Buzy Burrito. It’s not remotely close.

    If MOST people prefer to eat at the more expensive chains with the inferior food, then okay you tell me why they failed miserably while the superior and cheaper options are thriving. I want to learn.

  13. A January 20, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    @Family Guy, I don’t think it’s food snobbery to want to eat a decent meal when dining out and spending hard-earned money. I don’t splurge on a regular basis but wouldn’t be caught at a Joe’s Crab Shack because their food is terrible (frozen, heated in a microwave) in my opinion. We frequent fast casual and sit-down casual places where you can dine for under $10/person. Some are chains like Panera, Zoe’s, Taziki’s, etc. but also locally owned and run places like Crust, Campania, Tara Humata, Cafe Efendi, Hop Alley and some of the new places at Avalon here in Alpharetta.

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