Video-gaming pioneer Atari is teaming with innovation and strategy agency GSD Group and real-estate developer True North Studio to build in downtown Phoenix the first in a series of Atari Hotels planned across the country. Additional Atari-themed hotels are slotted for Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose.

Stakeholders expect to break ground by the end of the year and complete the estimated $55-million hotel in 2021. It will be built near Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street, a gentrifying inner-city area where True North Studio has completed commercial projects along Roosevelt Row.

Construction specifics are not yet available, nor has a design and construction team been selected.

GSD Group, led by founder Shelly Murphy and creative director Napoleon Smith III, has the licensing rights to build Atari Hotels and will work with individual developers to deliver the venues in various markets. True North Studio is the development partner in Phoenix, where both companies are headquartered.

Developers stress that the game-themed hotels are not targeted exclusively for age-specific guests.

“Atari is an iconic global brand that resonates with people of all ages, countries, cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and we cannot wait for our fans and their families to enjoy this new hotel concept,” said Fred Chesnais, CEO of Paris-based Atari, in a statement.

The interactive entertainment company owns or manages 200-plus games and franchises such as Asteroids, Centipede and Pong. The company says that more than 2.5 billion gamers worldwide spent more than $152.1 billion on games in 2019 alone––an annual increase of 9.6%.

The Atari Hotel will introduce themed hospitality to Phoenix. “We want to give our guests an immersive Atari experience on every level, integrating augmented reality and gaming elements throughout the hotel,” Murphy explains.

“Right now, there are over 4,000 hotel rooms [in Phoenix] with another 500 in development. This scale of convention and tourism development is needed to maintain an environment that attracted over 300,000 conventioneers and more than six million visitors last year. The Atari adds a new dimension to continue that growth,” says Christine Mackay, director, Phoenix Community and Economic Development.