The Dave & Buster's opening later this year in the Eastern Hills Mall will be one of the company's first newly designed entertainment complexes of its size.
The new prototypes are 25,000 to 35,000 square feet -- about 30 percent smaller than the previous intermediate version. A regular Dave & Buster's is 50,000 square feet -- about half the size of a Wegman's.
The smaller Dave & Buster's will have no pool tables or shuffle board, said spokeswoman April Spearman. And there will be one bar, instead of two. Otherwise, they're identical to full-size version, which includes dinning, games and rooms for corporate events.
Dave & Buster's is taking 35,000 square feet, or the first floor, of the former Burlington Coat Factory at the Eastern Hills Mall. Interior demolition is under way and Dave & Buster's is shooting to open in August or September, said Paulette Russell, director of retail leasing for Mountain Development Corp., the owner of Eastern Hills.
The new prototypes will cost about $6 million to build but will provide the same return on investment as a full-sized Dave & Buster's, said president and namesake Dave Corriveau during a conference call Friday.
The smaller stores allow Dave & Buster's to more easily and cheaply find locations. Dave & Buster's also believes it can more easily capture the market in smaller cities.
"(They) will be a big time attraction and draw to an entire market due to the simple fact that these markets are generally underserved in great food and fun," Corriveau said.
The Dallas-based company started in 1982 and today operates 43 locations in the United States, plus a location in Toronto. In November, it bought nine Jillian's locations, which will stay under that name.
Dave & Buster's is the most prestigious tenant to sign a lease at Eastern Hills since Mountain Development bought the mall in 2003.
Mountain Development has pumped millions into the shopping center, giving it a new food court with plasma TVs and fireplaces. Outside, the mall has a new sign, paint job, roof, landscaping and security system.
Special promotions for Halloween, children's theater and other activities draw thousands of participants.
Those efforts, and Dave & Buster's taking so much space, have cut the vacancy rate in half, to 12 percent. The mall is near signing a lease with a sportings good and apparel store that would take the former Old Navy space. That deal would bring the vacancy rate to 7 percent.