Two local escape room operators have a new Manchester venture up their sleeve – and they’ll do it with a little help from Edgar Allan Poe.
Josh Czarda of Escape Room RVA and Sam Williams of River City Escape Room are collaborating to open Warehouse 29, an escape room experience with virtual-reality components.
The pair has leased 10,000 square feet at 2601 Maury St., Building 29, for what Czarda said will be one of the largest escape rooms on the East Coast. Warehouse 29 will host one large, 90-minute to two-hour experience with multiple rooms within it.
“It’ll have a theatre with actors involved, and a large virtual-reality component to it,” Czarda said. “We’re mixing the genre of escape rooms with the VR tech.”
He said each game will begin with players meeting at a local bar or restaurant, where a driver will pick them up, in character, and bring them to the site.
Warehouse 29 will be thematically based around one of the most famous literary figures to have ties to Richmond.
“We’re basing most of it on Edgar Allan Poe – each room will be based on different Poe story,” Czarda said.
Construction is underway, and Czarda said it will cost between $100,000 and $150,000 to launch. He hopes to open the facility in early 2018.
Williams’ and Czarda’s first escape rooms are in shopping centers off of West Broad Street and Three Chopt Road, respectively, and Czarda said they were drawn into the city by ongoing development activity in Manchester.
“I really think it’s going to be the next Scott’s Addition,” Czarda said. “There’s already rapid development over there. There are tons of apartments and it’s becoming rejuvenated really quickly. The property itself is really cool.”
The escape room craze struck Richmond in 2015 and hasn’t slowed much since.
Warehouse 29 will mark at least the sixth escape room to open in the region in the last few years, joining Breakout Games, Real Escape Room Richmond and Escape Room USA, as well as Czarda’s and Williams’ Escape Room RVA and River City Escape Room.