A couple of weeks ago we shared the sad news that Arcade Infinity, a well-known arcade in the SoCal area, was going to be shutting it’s doors on January 15th. Following the announcement there was plenty of lamentation to go around for fans of the venue and an event was created for people to go and celebrate AI before it closed. At present the event will have a minimum of 716 people, which is well-beyond the capacity of the arcade.
As it turns out the outcry from the fans has ended up saving Arcade Infinity from the pending closure, at least for the time being. The owners of Diamond Plaza, where AI is located, have stepped in to ensure that they stay open and now that goodbye event will be a celebration event instead. It’s important to note that AI isn’t completely out of the woods yet, at present they will stay open for at least a few months while they wait to see if the city will approve of the new plan. This would be one of those times for fans to become involved in local politics and let the city know of their desires.
In the full statement, which you can find after the break, it is revealed why in fact AI was facing closure. Part of it had to do with depressed earnings – keeping an arcade open is not a cheap endeavor and without enough cash flowing into a business, it will fail. The other part is related to it, and it involves the city of Rowland Heights and their business license fees. This is not the first time we have a story where a city has got in the way of allowing a small business to operate or flourish (recently the case of an arcade closure in Beacon, NY comes to mind, among other stories we have ran in the past) but fortunately the landlords of Diamond Plaza are working with the city to come up with a more reasonable deal. Full details can be found below. Hopefully the event this Saturday gives AI an extra boost they need to also fight through these troubles and the fans certainly need to be commended for their involvement.
“AI is being saved by the owners of Diamond Plaza. After seeing all of the public outcry over the closing, and how active this particular event page has been since the announcement, they’ve worked out a deal with AI to significantly help their operating costs and keep the arcade open for an unspecified period of time. While currently the arrangements that the landlords have made with the city of Rowland Heights regarding AI’s business license will only cover them for 6 more months, they’re working out arrangements to extend it up to a period of 3 years. We’ll know the outcome of this sometime in March when the approval is made or denied.”
“Either way, thanks to the landlords we get to keep AI for at the very least a few months longer. After speaking with Ken, the first action they’re gonna be taking with this turn of events is to put some money into getting 4 Super Street Fighter 4 setups running, Beatmania IIDX 18 RESORT ANTHEM (possibly in a new cabinet), DDR X2, pop’n music 18 SENGOKU RETSUDEN, and a few other titles that he’s has his eye on for a little while.”
Also just to clarify a bit on the closing of the arcade, while a good portion of it had to do with earnings (or lack thereof) the nail in the coffin was actually delivered by the city of Rowland Heights. AI’s business license was to expire in December, and the costs that they originally wanted the Tao brothers to pay to keep things open was just completely unreasonable for how much money the arcade was pulling in. The landlords have since worked with the City to make their license renewal a possibility, and have secured them an extension.
With all of this being the case, we still want to encourage everyone to make their way out to the arcade this Saturday. Instead of a last chance to play at one of the best arcades the US has ever seen, let’s celebrate their 10 years of continued business and contribution to the arcade industry in North America!