Funky Monkeys hoping for bounce in business with its trampoline park venture
Indoor play business Funky Monkeys is branching out into trampoline parks with the creation of at least 20 new jobs. Air-Tastic Belfast, which is part of Funky Monkeys, is behind plans for a trampoline park at Boucher Road.
The latest venture by Funky Monkeys is part of a larger expansion by the firm, which is developing plans to open more trampoline parks in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The company said it had already bought a number of sites with plans to develop these, although they have not given any further details on locations or time scales.
A spokeswoman from Funky Monkeys said: "Northern Ireland-based Funky Monkeys is a young, ambitious company which has opened 14 jungle-themed children's soft play cafes across Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain.
"We are continually looking for new leisure concepts to develop and offer our customers and have created a trampoline park concept after fully investigating this market.
"We now have plans for a number of these new Air-Tastic outlets and have acquired sites in a number of locations throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland and hope to be in a position to give further details in due course."
In a planning statement submitted as part of the Boucher Road application, Air-Tastic said the scheme would comprise an 8,500 sq ft trampoline park, a cafe, party rooms and office space.
The project will involve the conversion of a vacant warehouse accessed from Falcon Road in the Boucher Road shopping complex.
The £500,000 project would employ a workforce of about 20, which the applicant said did not take into account employment opportunities generated at the construction and fit-out stage.
"The introduction of indoor recreational uses within similar commercial areas is relatively common and has been accepted in numerous other cases across the Belfast Metropolitan Area for uses … and as such we would consider the proposed use to be acceptable in this location," said Air-Tastic.
"The subject property has been on the market since April 2012, with limited uptake to this point.
"This proposal therefore offers a sustainable form of development in that it intends to utilise an existing redundant facility through its change of use.
"In addition to the clear economic/employment benefits generated, the proposed use as an indoor trampoline park promotes healthier lifestyles and physical recreation/exercise, resulting in extensive community benefits accessible to all ages."
A decision date is yet to be given for the project.
Mark and Alison Simpson bought the first Funky Monkeys to Northern Ireland in 2008 as a master licence.
But the pair later bought out the master licence, enabling them to develop the brand as a separate entity.
If they get the green light from Belfast City Council, the facility would become the second indoor trampoline centre in Northern Ireland.
We Are Vertigo opened its doors to the public in December 2014. Air-Tastic will be hoping to recreate the success of the facility, which is located in south east Belfast.
The centre offers activities for all ages, these include two indoor ski slopes, climbing walls, a 100ft mobile zip line, high wire rope course, a soft play area and two cafes.
We Are Vertigo then announced the opening of a second centre in Louth in the Republic of Ireland.