A PanIQ “Escape Room” is coming to the corner of Mission Street and Sycamore Alley. If all goes according to plan, it should be open this summer.
Escape rooms are role-playing scenarios for adults in which participants are “locked” in a themed room and required to solve a series of puzzles in order to “escape.” They’ve become popular in San Francisco in recent years, with more than half a dozen in operation here. This, however, is the Mission’s first.
This particular PanIQ room location will feature three different escape rooms with varying themes — a spy room, medieval room, and a wizard room. That’s according to Balazs Pataki, the west coast manager for PanIQ Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based company with some 10 existing locations in many major cities, including one in San Francisco on Hyde and Sutter.
“It’s gonna be really cool,” he said, noting that the rooms’ effects will have “Universal Studio quality.”
The ground floor space at 2146 Mission St. formerly housed several bodegas but appears to have sat vacant since at least 2012.
An application to change the use of the building from retail to general entertainment was filed in late January. This transaction will not require a hearing in front of the Planning Commission unless someone files a discretionary review. That, according to Tom Schultheis, the permit shepherd for the project, hasn’t happened yet.
There are no plans to serve alcohol at the establishment, both Schultheis and Pataki said, as their target audiences are families and companies seeking out team-building exercises.
“As I understand it, there would be some pushback for formula retail and big chains opening up,” Schultheis said. “But I’m not sure if this fits that profile.”
They may yet “escape” discretionary review after all.