A shuttered department store in the Mall at Tuttle Crossing soon will be home to what could be one of the largest indoor entertainment centers in the country.
Dayton-based Scene75 recently purchased the former Macy's store at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing with plans to put in place one of its multifaceted entertainment venues.
The center is expected to open by the beginning of 2019, after the owners invest approximately $12 million in renovations on top of the $3 million they spent to acquire a former Macy's building from May Department Stores last month. The original Macy's continues in operation at the mall.
At more than 220,000 square feet, the central Ohio Scene75 center will be about double the size of the company's typical entertainment center and will include arcade games, go-karts, laser tag, mini golf and an event space large enough for a 1,000-person banquet.
It could employ up to 200 full-time and part-time workers, said Alex Zorniger, vice president of operations for Scene75.
"This will be our first two-story location, so that will be really cool," Zorniger said.
He said inflatable "bounce" attractions, laser tag and banquet space likely will be on the top floor, with arcade games, mini golf and other attractions on the ground floor. He said details still are being finalized for a couple of new features that would be unique to the central Ohio location.
Although such centers might be seen as catering to children or young adults, Scene75 looks to offer something for all ages, Zorniger said.
Since opening in Dayton in 2012 -- in a former warehouse south of the interchange between Interstate 75 and Interstate 70 -- Scene75 has expanded to Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. At those locations, Scene75 holds everything from Easter and Halloween celebrations for children to corporate outings and "speed-dating" events for adults.
The central Ohio location also will have a bar and grill, a central bar and a couple snack bars.
Zorniger said the owners hope to keep many of the interior features, such as the central escalators, as part of the revamp. Scene75's other locations previously were warehouses, supermarkets and Kmart stores.
Scene75's move highlights a national trend, as department stores struggle and real-estate owners deal with large, empty buildings.
Macy's closed its second location in the mall last summer after operating two stores at Tuttle for years after its parent company converted Kaufmann's stores across the country to Macy's.
The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, built in 1997, typifies the sort of enclosed malls that were popular in the 1980s and '90s.
They have lost their luster, however, supplanted by newer "lifestyle centers" such as Easton Town Center that emphasize dining and entertainment experiences.
Store closings -- including Macy's and Sears in recent years -- have been leaving malls with big empty buildings that can be tough to fill and expensive to redevelop.
Some department-store buildings are owned by the mall owner; others, such as the just-sold former Macy's at Tuttle, are owned by the store chain.
Columbus-based Washington Prime Group, which owns Polaris Fashion Place, recently announced that it had bought two Sears stores at its malls -- including Polaris -- from the struggling retailer with an eye toward future redevelopment.
A decade ago, Polaris' owner -- at the time Glimcher Realty Trust -- paid $8 million for the shuttered Kaufmann's store there and knocked it down to make way for an open-air lifestyle-center section on the east side of the mall.