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At Mount Kisco's Grand Prix, a garage for artists, not go-karts
Facility NewsHe launched his business six years ago with a half-mile of indoor go-kart racing, which he marketed to corporate event coordinators.

He was among those investing $2 million to build a bowling alley with VIP lanes to attract private parties, and he upgraded the kitchen by hiring a new chef to put out catering-quality cuisine.

He helped add an electronic arcade room and secure village approval for up to 75 gaming machines.

But something was missing from the 118,000-square-foot business known as Grand Prix New York, co-founded by Bedford native Nat Mundy.

So excess office space was gutted and a new art room was built that will cater predominately to elementary school-aged girls. With its own 1,300-degree kiln, the new Arts Garage crafts center is a place to custom decorate holiday gifts or take an arts class.

If the new addition seems like an odd fit for a former warehouse filled with the roar of small engines and the crash of pins, it’s understandable.

“This is a hard thing to market,” said Mundy, drinking a Red Bull over ice and sitting at one of the kid-size chairs in the new Arts Garage. “It’s this massive space where you walk in and it has all this activity and energy coming at you from all directions.”

But the latest addition to this business in the heart of Mount Kisco’s commercial district is part of a calculated move away from the early concentration on corporate outings and toward more entertainment offerings for families.

“It’s my first time here and I am enjoying it,” said Millwood chef Abraham Cisse, watching from a booth as his two sons and daughter rolled more gutter balls than spares in the bowling alley. “The kids have been here for parties before, so they know all about it.”

Without diversifying into bowling, arcade and food, the go-kart business would not have survived the downturn in the economy, Mundy said. The Art Garage is part of the continuing evolution.

“We’ve had to adapt with the economy changing, so that the place is no longer solely a corporate and large private event venue,” Mundy said. “If kids in the family range from 2 years old to 15, we now have a place where you can one-stop shop.”

Grand Prix itself is part of a larger transformation of the former 575,000-square-foot warehouse off Route 117 at the Bedford border formerly owned by Grand Union and taken over by Diamond Properties.

The warehouse has been transformed into a 36-acre commercial park that includes the Saw Mill Club East, MMA Fit and Ideal Electric.

Lewis Gersh of Manhattan said there was nothing like Grand Prix in New York City so he signed up his 6-year-old for Grand Prix summer camp where kids race for a few hours, take a lunch break then have their fill of the arcade room, the bowling lanes and the simulated racing machines.

As for the new art space, which is quaint and contained compared with the throbbing world of neon and speed around it, the plan is to stage a grand opening at the start of the school year, although parties can be booked before then.

“It is an exciting, clean new space that is not your typical art room at a local school,” Mundy said.
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