Virtual reality gaming startup to open ‘holodecks’ at The Boro in Tysons

Sandbox VR is planning to open a virtual reality gaming center at The Boro in Tysons (courtesy Sandbox VR)

(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) In case the apocalyptic vision of HBO’s “The Last of Us” adaptation isn’t immersive enough, you’ll soon be able to physically battle zombie hordes at The Boro.

The Tysons neighborhood will be home to a new virtual reality gaming venue from the San Francisco-based startup Sandbox VR, which says it utilizes full-body motion capture technology to achieve a level of realism and immersion inspired by the holodecks in “Star Trek.”

The deal was first reported by the Washington Business Journal.

According to a press release, Sandbox has leased a 7,500-square-feet space at 1656 Silver Hill Drive that will feature four private gaming rooms, or holodecks, which can each accommodate up to six players. The center is expected to open this summer.

Located across the street from the ShowPlace ICON Theatre, the new tenant is part of a push to provide more “experiential” amenities for residents and workers, according to The Meridian Group, the developer behind The Boro.

“At The Boro, we strive to create an interactive, socially engaged neighborhood cultivated by experiential retailers like Sandbox VR,” Meridian Vice President of Asset Management Charlie Schwieger said. “With a concept that promotes community and team building through technological innovation, Sandbox VR makes a unique, exciting addition to The Boro’s growing portfolio of eclectic restaurants, shops and attractions.”

Launched in 2019, Sandbox has over 30 locations worldwide and counts celebrities Will Smith, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Kevin Durant among its investors, according to its website. The Tysons location will be the first in Virginia, though Virginia Beach and Woodbridge centers are also in the works.

Sandbox VR offers six different virtual reality “experiences,” including one involving zombie-fighting (courtesy The Boro)

The company says its in-house studio has developed six different “experiences,” including a pirate adventure, a haunted-house game and the latest addition involving zombies.

The Boro shared more on how the holodecks work in its press release:

The Boro’s Sandbox VR location will feature 4 private rooms for virtual reality gameplay called “holodecks,” in which groups of up to six players will explore virtual worlds and rely on each other to succeed in games designed to be social experiences. Together with friends, family, or co-workers, players are equipped with a VR headset, a haptic vest, a backpack and motion sensors on their wrists and ankles. This technology allows players to see and physically interact with one another while feeling like they are in the middle of an action movie, with the heightened emotions that come from not just watching a film, but from actually becoming the stars of the action.

David Friedman, Sandbox’s vice president of global real estate, said the company was drawn to Tysons due to its proximity to D.C. and status as “one of the largest areas for office and retail in the country.”

Just last month, the Boro welcomed the long-awaited restaurants Circa and Él Bebe. The burger joint Caliburger is expected to open at 8301 Greensboro Drive in the first quarter of this year.

Construction on a second phase of The Boro on the north side of Westpark Drive is on track to reach substantial completion in 2025.

Work began last April on The Trillium, a 16-story senior living facility, and Fairfax County approved plans for more residential buildings a month later. In total, the 9.37-acre expansion will add 160,000 square feet of retail and 610,000 square feet of housing.

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