HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A state-of-the-art gun range is set to open in Henrico's west end. We told you about the Colonial Shooting Academy back in August. Now, we have our first look inside.
You might remember when this building used to be the old Colony House Furniture store. It looks almost nothing like that now. In fact, what's expected to be the largest privately-held indoor shooting range in the United States is just weeks away from opening here.
"This is what's called a tactical house…"
Deep inside a building that -at the moment- is more hard hat zone than gun range, Henry Stanley is full of pride.
ANDY: "Man, the furniture people would be amazed to see what this looks like now."
HENRY: "I think they would be as well."
The last time we saw Col. Stanley, it was 2011. He retired as chief of Henrico Police. Now, he's here, a partner with the Colonial Shooting Academy. And opening day is coming soon.
"It's been absolutely fun for me," Stanley said.
"So it's gonna be like a brand new place," said manager Ed Coleman.
Coleman is the one in charge, overseeing the renovation of 60,000 square feet along W. Broad Street. Soon, the space will include a retail store, a gun safe, and several indoor, soundproof, ranges.
ED: "This is made out of AR-500 steel that is resistant to the impact of bullets."
ANDY: "I would hope so."
Safety has been a concern, especially in such a populated retail district. To help alleviate that, safety officers will be hired. Also, every person who shoots will first have to pass a background check and a safety class.
The plan is to attract the general public, and professional police officers.
"This range can actually be used for law enforcement qualifications," Coleman said.
But that comes later. There's still more work to do to make this one-time furniture store a showroom for weapons training in central Virginia.
"I'm ready to do what's necessary to make it successful," Stanley said.
Coleman says he's on target to open the Colonial Shooting Academy by the end of next month. He estimates a private investment team has spent more than $10 million in startup costs. Already, Coleman says the academy has 400 members who pay $35 a month to belong.
More details on the Colonial Shooting Academy can be found here.