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Market Update www.parkworld-online.com Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park, Mall of America Christiana Mall, Delaware USA


Risk/benefit analysis Larger entertainment companies like industry leader Dave & Buster’s are responding to the trend by reconfiguring their store sizes to fit in malls. Realising that these vacancies are in prime locations, about a third of the company’s franchises are now located in shopping malls. Scene75, an indoor family entertainment company, purchased the closed Macy’s at Tuttle Mall in Dublin Ohio. Scene75 offers 4-D motion theater, mini-golf, bouncing inflatables, bumper cars, go-karts, laser tag, laser maze, mini-bowling, and virtual reality experiences. This type of adaptive reuse of vacant mall space is on the rise across the industry. The primary benefit for any attraction to locate in a mall is


The Avenues Mall, Bahrain


the foot traffic. Some stand-alone traditional attractions may take more than a year of marketing to gain traction in the market, not to mention the high development costs. The mall location benefits the attraction in two ways, instant foot traffic and large empty spaces priced well below replacement costs. However, given all the benefits, amusement attraction


developers and investors must still be discerning about which malls they choose. In some cases, malls that have an increasingly declining attendance would serve as a detriment to any new tenant. Developers need to do their due diligence to better understand the market, tenant mix, past and future projections for mall visitation, and spending potential of the market. The possibilities for indoor attractions are seemingly limitless, with successful mall attractions ranging from play areas for toddlers to roller coasters. Larger attractions include


Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park, Mall of America


indoor waterparks, aquariums, roller coasters, family entertainment centres, bowling alleys, and indoor ski domes. Smaller attractions include trampoline parks, climbing walls, ropes courses, ziplines, indoor sky diving, bouncing inflatables, carnival type amusement rides, splash pads, escape rooms, interactive attractions, indoor go-karts and laser tag.


Feasibility The mall of the future is on pace to begin operating as a town centre, offering traditional retail with lifestyle and entertainment options. Attraction operators that want in on this growing trend will need to reconfigure and revise their operations and marketing plans to adapt to these new settings. Unfortunately, not all concepts to enter the market will be successful and even the best location is no substitute for a solid business concept and a well-considered business plan. Consumers are becoming more selective with their entertainment dollars. If an attraction does not offer an experience that is fun, immersive, interactive, safe, and affordable, it’s uncertain if people will return regardless of its location. A feasibility study can be invaluable to the process of discerning whether this new trend of adaptive reuse of vacant mall space is a good fit for these entertainment attractions. As the retail industry continues to experience large closures, it provides a strong opportunity for both small and large attraction operators to not only be part of the mall setting, but also to realign their business concepts to a new world of mixed-use retail and entertainment.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018


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