Riddlebox plans to expand its escape room concept to Naperville’s downtown   

Interior escape room at Riddlebox in Naperville
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A popular amusement business that has been providing escape room-style entertainment in Naperville has plans in the works to expand with a second location in the heart of the city.

Riddlebox, which currently operates out of commercial space at 620B W. 5th Ave., is seeking approval from Naperville officials to open another escape room operation out of a multi-tenant downtown commercial building at 125-127 S. Washington St.

French-themed café Le Chocolat du Bouchard and manicure salon Sis Nails occupy the first floor of the complex and will remain at their respective locations.

Naperville’s 2030 Downtown Plan

At its latest meeting, the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed Riddlebox’s proposal, which entails occupying a 2,241-square-foot space on the second story of the commercial building.

Naperville has in place a document that lays out a long-range vision for the types of establishments dotting the downtown corridor — most notably, on the first floor of commercial buildings.

“The Naperville Downtown 2030 Plan states the desire for a variety of synergistic uses in the downtown, including entertainment options,” Adam Beaver, community planner, said. “With the proposed use being on the second floor, it would not occupy space that could otherwise be used by permitted first-floor pedestrian-friendly retail or restaurant users.”

In his presentation to commissioners, Beaver said the city’s planning, building and zoning department recommends issuing the requisite conditional-use permit for the Riddlebox proposal.

“The petitioner states that the proposed use will occupy a space that is currently vacant and will provide a unique use that does not currently exist in Downtown Naperville,” Beaver said.

‘Largely successful’

Eric Prechtel, an attorney representing Riddlebox, spoke on behalf of the company owners at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

In an average year, Prechtel said about 12,000 people annually visit Riddlebox’s 5th Avenue site.

The entertainment venue offers a variety of simulated activities around the problem-solving escape room concept in the backdrop of an old tavern, prison escape route and a witch’s house. Riddlebox offers different pricing options, based on the number of participants.

“Since opening, it has been largely successful,” Prechtel said.

Commissioners show support

After deliberating on the proposal, commissioners gave a favorable recommendation to Riddlebox’s plans for the downtown Washington Street proposal.

Based on the preliminary conditional-use permit proposal, the amusement facility could have the authority to operate from 11 a.m. to midnight daily and provide another option for around-the-clock options for shops, services and entertainment in Naperville’s core.

“It looks like a great opportunity,” said Anthony Losurdo, who chairs the commission. “I’m excited about it.”

The commission’s favorable recommendation advances to the city council for a final, determining vote.

photo courtesy: Riddlebox

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