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Fat City's new owner brings Bigg ideas

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By Matt Gunn

Entrepreneur Steve Bigari has had enough “Bigg” success in Colorado Springs that he has chosen to expand to South Jeffco.

And in the next couple months, some significant changes are coming to Bigari’s new property: Fat City. Bigari’s purchase of the 140,000-square-foot entertainment center becomes official Feb. 8, at which point it will begin a transformation into Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center.

“I love this town, I love this state, and I look forward to becoming a part of this community,” Bigari said.

Mr. Biggs has operated in Colorado Springs for about three years. Its trademark attractions include an indoor go-cart track, laser tag, an arcade and bowling, along with Little Biggtown, a city shrunken to toddler-sized proportions.

Bigari’s second family fun center will remain open under the Fat City name while it undergoes a multimillion-dollar transformation. The first steps in the process will be to replace the skating rink with an indoor go-cart track and event center. The arcade will be updated and condensed. The laser tag arena will be moved downstairs, where it will be modernized and quadrupled in size.

“I love this building,” Bigari said. “It has such appeal. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.”

The current plan is to remain in business while the initial changes are made. If all remains on schedule, Fat City will close March 18, and have a grand reopening as Mr. Biggs on March 20.

The bowling alley will become the epicenter of what Bigari calls “eatertainment,” a concept that fuses dining, entertainment and technology into a single experience. One side of the lanes will be devoted to families, while the other side will be available to groups without children. Similarly, new dining areas will be established, with one portion available to families and the other to adults.

There will be more options than to simply eat around the bar.

“Children shouldn’t be sitting at a bar eating,” Bigari said.

Bigari also promises a menu that is more healthy and that features local, natural ingredients whenever possible.

The overall experience is aimed at providing an entertainment center that is welcoming to everyone. No longer will there be the spring raves — or late-night dance parties — that made Fat City somewhat infamous over the past several years. While young adults are welcomed, there is no place for alcohol or drug abuse, Bigari said.

“If they want to do drugs and start fights, they can do that somewhere else,” he added.

Bigari discussed future partnerships with the community and Jefferson County that could make Mr. Biggs a positive focal point of the south metropolitan area.

Mr. Biggs leadership met with Fat City’s staff before their holiday party Jan. 30.

Among Bigari’s other ventures are a self-published book, “The Box You Got,” and a nonprofit called America’s Family that supports low-income workers.

“We’ve made a point to become family with the people we deal with,” said Matt VanAuken, Mr. Biggs’ chief operating officer.

Bigari did not disclose the amount paid to San Diego-based Greenback Entertainment Inc. for Fat City, but said the deal will close Feb. 8.

Originally opened in 1985 as Funplex, Fat City, at 9670 W. Coal Mine Ave., reopened in November 2000 after a multimillion-dollar renovation.

Contact Matt Gunn at matt@evergreenco.com. For the full story, check the Feb. 6 print edition of the Columbine Courier.