About five years after Steve and Amy Simmons decided to develop the Austinville 78750 shopping center, the first tenant, indoor skydiving facility iFLY, opened for business Jan. 17.
Located at 13265 N. US 183 north of McNeil Drive, iFLY is a three-story structure with a wind chamber designed to simulate free falling.
"A lot of people [who visit iFLY] are experienced skydivers," said Stacy Harris, director of sales and marketing for the Austin location. "If you're in the tunnel and you close your eyes, there's literally no difference."
Anyone over the age of 3 can fly, and fliers are in the wind tunnel with a trained instructor while another employee controls the wind speed based on the person's weight, height and experience. Harris said many experienced skydivers can use the tunnel to practice their stunts and tricks.
"It's a physical sport, it's a fun sport, and people really get into it," Harris said. "We have competition teams."
She said the facility can accommodate birthday parties, team-building and corporate events. She said iFLY is working on plans to create a weekly club for children and a summer camp.
The facility is open seven days a week, and because of the positive reception from the community, Harris recommends making a reservation to ensure people will get to fly.
Flights start at $59.95 for two one-minute flights, and other packages are available. Additional information is available at www.iflyworld.com or by calling 512-774-4359.
Steve Simmons said construction began Jan. 17 on the foundation for the remaining 5,013-square-foot building adjacent to iFLY that will house Amy's Ice Creams, Phil's Ice House and a bakery the couple plans to open.
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture designed the iFLY and Austinville 78750 buildings.
Originally, Simmons said a Dallas-based bakery was supposed to open on the property, but that deal fell through. He said decided to open their own bakery because they had success with Amy's ice cream cakes, cookies and new s'more kits, of which 60,000 were sold in December. The bakery will makes its own cookies, cakes and cupcakes.
The Austinville 78750 construction experienced a small setback during the iFLY construction when the foundation was compromised, but Simmons said construction is back on.
"We're less worried. We'll get open by springtime," he said, anticipating an April or May opening.
The setback is one of just a series of setbacks over the past few years as the couple has dealt with water runoff issues with a neighboring property and permitting issues with the city.
"It's a quest. This is about finishing it," Simmons said.