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Virtual reality location to open in St. Petersburg this month

Ashley Morales

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Construction is underway now at 2228 Central Avenue, the future home of Florida’s first Sandbox VR location. Photo provided.

Sandbox VR, a virtual reality (VR) entertainment company, is set to open its first Florida location in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District.

Sandbox VR will open June 27 at 2228 Central Ave, a 4,300-square-foot building that was formerly the home of Herbach’s Rattan Furniture. The company first announced it would open a St. Pete location in early 2024, and construction on the interior of the building is now well underway.

The interior buildout is ongoing, and work is being done to finish in time for Sandbox VR’s June 27 grand opening. Photos: Mark Parker.

Sandbox VR is a full-body VR experience with a focus on “social gaming,” allowing up to six players at a time to don VR headsets, wrist and ankle sensors, haptic vests and headphones, enabling them to interact with each other in an immersive virtual world. Guests can choose from eight VR experiences, including games based on popular TV shows like Star Trek and Squid Game.

Sandbox VR has partnered with Solis Entertainment LLC & Solis Group of Industries to bring the company to St. Pete.

“Florida is, by far, the most frequent request we receive for our next Sandbox VR location. We knew we had to find the right partner and the right location to kick off our presence in the Sunshine State,” said Steve Zhao, Founder and CEO of Sandbox VR, in a prepared statement. “We knew we met our match in Amit Ahluwalia, President of Solis Entertainment LLC & Solis Group of Industries, when he mirrored our passion for world-class immersive entertainment and presented the ideal location in St. Petersburg. We are thrilled to work with him on our Florida debut and give the Tampa Bay community the opportunity to experience a whole new reality.”

The St .Pete opening marks the company’s 49th location since its inception in 2017. Sandbox VR also operates in Canada, Europe and Asia. A location in Fort Myers is listed as “coming soon” on the company’s website.

Bookings are open for the St. Pete location, with the first weekend bookings available at a discounted rate at sandboxvr.com/stpetersburg.

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