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Combat-simulation business to open in WIC building

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A former Fort Drum soldier wants to move a combat simulation adventure business into 6,900 square feet of space in the Watertown Center for Business and Industry, 800 Starbuck Ave.

The company is similar to a paintball-game business, but participants instead use air-soft guns that shoot small plastic pellets.

Owner Travis Corliss operated out of the space occupied by Velocity — which offered laser tag, a soft-play gym and arcade games — in Empsall Plaza on Court Street until it closed abruptly last summer, Watertown Industrial Center Loan Review Committee members were told on Monday.

When Velocity closed, Mr. Corliss was left looking for a new home for his business, said William J. Soluri, the site manager who runs the small-business center. Mr. Corliss could not be reached for comment.

On Monday morning, the WIC’s loan committee approved a one-year lease with a year option for some space in the Starbuck Avenue facility previously occupied by a dog-breeding business. The full WIC board is expected to consider the lease later this week.

Two weeks ago, the Watertown Local Development Corp. approved a $15,000, five-year loan to Mr. Corliss that he would use to purchase and replace equipment lost when Velocity closed.

Donald W. Rutherford, WIC’s board chairman and the CEO of the WLDC, said he supported the loan and lease with the company because Mr. Corliss has demonstrated to him that he is a good risk.

In addition to offering the air-soft league to the public, Mr. Corliss told him that he is working on obtaining a contract with Fort Drum to provide realistic, simulated combat situations in closed quarters for soldiers.

The company would employ two workers.

“I think he will do well,” Mr. Rutherford said.

If approved, Mr. Corliss would pay a discounted monthly rent of $2,000, but WIC board members suggested the rate should increase after the first year of the lease.

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