Belong Gaming, a UK chain of video and computer game arenas, to open a location at Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg as part of the company’s expansion into the United States
Schaumburg officials recently granted Belong approval for the use of 6,190 square feet of space above the entrance to the Laugh Out Loud Improv Comedy Company.
The village has also granted an exception to zoning bylaws which normally require such video game facilities to be no less than 20,000 square feet and include a sit-down restaurant area of ââat least 4,500 square feet.
Belong currently operates 25 locations in the UK and last month opened its first US location in the Houston suburbs. In addition to Schaumburg, the company plans to open additional sites in the Dallas, Nashville and Columbus, Ohio areas.
Not to be confused with a video game facility, Belong locations are gathering places for esports players who can compete against each other using the site’s computers and game consoles. Players are billed using company-issued debit cards rather than coins or other currencies.
Belong officials told village officials the business should be a boon to restaurants in Streets of Woodfield.
Voting 7-1 to recommend the proposal, most members of the Schaumburg Zoning Appeal Board said the company was different enough to merit an exception to the village zoning code. Member Pat Riley cast the dissenting vote, saying he preferred to see existing bylaws rewritten.
Village administrators agreed with the majority opinion of the zoning council with a 5-0 vote in favor of the plan.
Although outfitted with 72 game consoles, the site will have an occupancy capacity of 251, with three to six employees expected to be on duty at all times. The hours will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, with an extended closure at 1 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
An opening date at Streets of Woodfield has not yet been specified.