You may notice a construction zone behind the St. Johns Town Center. That’s where the iFly Indoor Skydiving will rise.
“We are well on our way,” said Sky Entertainment LLC Managing Partner Chester Schwartz told our Daily Record news partner on Wednesday.
He estimates it will open the first of the year. “We’d like to open in November but we want to see what happens in the next few months. It depends on the Florida weather.”
To keep up with it, iFly is posting Facebook updates, such as construction photos of the 10579 Brightman Blvd. site, just west of Interstate 295.
Schwartz said foundation work will start Monday and vertical construction should be evident in early June. Plans show the 5,000-square-foot enclosed building will rise 59 feet and 6 inches that make way for the fans and tunnel that allow patrons to simulate skydiving. He said the grade will be raised 5 feet.
He said the investment is almost $15 million.
The site next to Topgolf attracts attention and raises awareness about the opportunity to experience indoor skydiving.
“A lot of people have heard about it,” Schwartz said. “A lot of people want to try it.”
An iFly experience takes about an hour, he said.
Austin, Texas-based iFly calls it “the experiential entertainment company that created modern indoor skydiving.”
Its technology creates a wall-to-wall air cushion generated by giant fans in a flight chamber. The force can be adjusted for a participant’s body weight.
While iFly will consider walk-ups, the business works on a reservation system. Schwartz said the venue will take its first reservations three months before opening.
Schwartz said he launched and sold two iFly locations in Seattle and New Jersey. He expects Jacksonville to be one of the better-producing locations in the country.
“In addition to the normal customer traffic, we will have tourism traffic. We also have beach traffic,” he said.
ARCO/Murray Construction Co. of Tampa is the contractor for the 5,000-square-foot building. The architect is GMA Architects Inc. of St. Louis.
Plans explain that the iFly free-fall simulator includes three fundamental components:
The machine, powerful electric motors and fans that generate high-velocity airflow; special aerodynamic ducting that compresses and controls the airflow to produce free-fall air speeds up to terminal velocity; and the 14-foot diameter, 12-foot-tall glass flight chamber where the participants experience the flight.
Surrounding the flight and staging areas are conference rooms, a party room, classroom and offices.
The iflyworld.com site shows 29 locations in 14 states. Three operate in Florida in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa. It also operates internationally.
Costs vary. The cost for one person to take two 60-second flights at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Orlando iFly was priced at $69.95, according to the website.