Alamogordo’s Rocket City Fun Center Closes


During happier times Downtown Development Corporation CEO Chun in Alamogordo for branding.

In a blow to local entertainment, Downtown Venture Corporation of California, the operator of Rocket City Fun Center, has made the decision to withdraw from the Alamogordo market and is closing the fun center effective immediately. 

A social media post from the Fun Center announced the closure effective immediately…

Dear Alamogordo Community,

First, we would like to say thank you for all your support throughout our tenancy during the past 5 years. This letter is to inform you as of today, Rocket City Family Fun Center will be closing its doors. We understand this is not the news you want to hear during the upcoming holidays. We have explored every option possible to keep the business open but due to unforeseen circumstances, building troubles, and constant staff turnaround issues, we have made the difficult decision to close the business.

We had a vision and a plan when entering the Alamogordo region. After the COVID pandemic, everything changed. The pandemic had a huge impact on our business and although the Company survived the pandemic, it started a domino effect on the ability to sustain our business. In addition, the difficulty of finding, training, and maintaining staff was a constant struggle. Although we have tried our best, we can only do so much with limited staff.

We are in the process of transitioning to a new operator that will resume operation of the business and re-open as quickly as possible. Please understand this process will require the City’s approval and we will do our best to collaborate and make a smooth transition in doing so.

During the process, we have met many great families, employees, and people who have been dedicated to helping us maintain business. We wanted to say thank you for all your support and kind words. This letter will not be able to explain everything throughout our 5 year tenancy but we will do our best to coordinate with the City in the new transition. - Rocket City Management Team”

The history of the Rocket City is one of political intrigue, community investment and a California development corporation that was skeptical of entering the Alamogordo market initially and then made the leap on a promise of major revitalization of the downtown and growth of the city of Alamogordo.

When the project was first proposed to Downtown Venture Corporation they declined the proposal.

Per an interview in the Alamogordo Daily New in 2019  with the CEO of California based Downtown Venture Corporation he stated, “This project was brought to me close to a year and a half or two years ago initially and we showed an interest in creating something new that could benefit the community," CEO Jay Chun said.

"Later on when the opportunity was given again, I had to think about it for a little bit because I was already on other projects and was this really something I wanted to get myself back into? But first of all, I want to thank Mayor (Richard Boss) for not giving up at the end of the day because I gave up, seriously. I rejected it in the beginning and G.B. (Oliver) kept calling me back and calling me back and I spoke to the Mayor as well. What turned me was the passion the Mayor had for the city and how he'd like to see it revitalized." 

The project was involved in controversy with the City of Alamogordo of which provided Downtown Venture Corporation with $1.5 million in LEDA funds in August 2017 to make upgrades to the facility.

Per a presentations before the city as the project moved forward it broke down where the $1.5 million the City Commission had dedicated to fix the project's shortfalls. An estimated $120,000 was do go to an arcade card system, $650,000 to arcade machines, $100,000 to an audio and visual system, $80,000 to a point of sale system, $95,000 to kitchen equipment, $50,000 to a security system, $25,000 to a beer tap system with $350,000 dedicated to purchasing additional air conditioning system, lighting, signage, furniture, game prizes and change orders

The city initially provided a $500,000 loan to Downtown Venture Corp. as an initial operating capital loan. About $100,000 of that amount was for the purchasing initial alcohol and beverages, $250,000 was to go to employee training and payments, $50,000 for kitchen food and beverages, and $15,000 for grand opening marketing with $85,000 went towards set up costs and equipment, travel and products.

The New Mexico Office of the State Auditor sent a letter to City officials in September 2018 alleging some mismanagement in putting the project together, but ultimately State Auditor Wayne Johnson said his office didn’t see any evidence of intentional wrongdoing.

“There were problems they needed to be aware of. Some of it was created by the long timeframe, some of it was probably ignorance of state laws and the changes and the requirements of LEDA, for example,” he said to Alamogordo Daily News in 2018.

Downtown Venture Corporation has now closed the facility to limit losses and is tasked to transition the business to a new operator and to gracefully exit the Alamogordo market

The City of Alamogordo will have to review contracts and review the implications of closure with the involvement of LEDA funds. 

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