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AROUND TOWN: McLean plays host to video game empire Arcadia and more

In this week’s Around Town, Donnie Tillman heads 20 minutes Southeast of Bloomington-Normal.

To a place where many childhood memories are re-visited in the form of video games.

On a normal day in the village of McLean, this train might be the loudest sound you hear.

Unless you find yourself at Arcadia where owner John Yates has put together an arcade museum.

He calls it a passion that’s gotten out of control.

“The arcade thing is like a hobby that kind of takes over your life is the problem. I tried to escape this twice, and it’s because of the anchor of all these games. I acquired about 1500 arcade games into my collection and 8 buildings that they’re stored in. It’s just hard to get away from that.” says Yates.

But it didn’t stop there.

Just steps away, Yates converted the old McLean State Bank into Pinball Paradise.

Yet,. there was still plenty of room to grow.

“I owned these downtown buildings in McLean, they had this ordinance that you couldn’t have living space like apartments on the ground floor. I had this one space in one of these buildings that I just couldn’t rent to save my life. I had a for rent sign in my window for 10 years.”

Taking things to the next level, Yates started Hotel Arcadia.

“I didn’t think it would work but it but it started working. People were renting it quite a bit, then I converted another one of my apartments to a hotel and it did pretty well too.”

Even converting his dream home into the luxury arcade palace.

All rooms complete with hundreds of options for your overnight stay.

“In my dreams, they’re going to be roller coasters here, this is going to be a amusement park someday. If I live long enough and God blesses me with it. Anyway there will be new attractions here every year, I don’t know how extravagant they will be.”

Yates plans to add more rooms to Hotel Arcadia.

There’s even a party room available for special events.

More information is available at www.vintagevideogames.com

 

Donnie Tillman

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