WILMINGTON — A 24,000-square-foot arcade, bar and restaurant could be heading to the area’s biggest outdoor shopping complex.
According to internal emails obtained by Port City Daily, Dave & Buster’s is looking to construct a new facility at 953 Town Center Drive in Mayfaire Town Center. Discussions have been taking place since last summer about the build-out planned for a vacant lot in the shopping center. It’s located adjacent to Pure Barre, Fuel Fitness, the IMAX parking lot and the former Fox and Hound space.
“This proposed development is under review by the City of Wilmington Planning Department,” according to Scott James, the Wilmington Area Urban Metropolitan Planning Organization transportation planning engineer.
Emails obtained by PCD indicate Dave & Buster’s will include a 5,000 square-foot bar, 6,500-square-foot restaurant and 12,500 square-foot arcade.
WMPO, city staff, and Kimley Horn, engineering planning and design consultants on the project, have been hashing out traffic impacts it will bring to Mayfaire. If it generates more than 100 additional trips a day in the AM or PM peak hours, it would require a formal traffic impact analysis.
Kimley-Horn can submit a TIA waiver letter or a study to show the development’s impact as part of its site plan. According to an email to city staff from Morgan Rosamond of Kimley-Horn, the firm performed trip generation based on the square footage of the building. It determined there would be 135 weekly PM peak hour trips — 85 entering and 51 exiting — and 1,244 daily.
“We do not believe that these trips will cause a significant impact on the surrounding roadway network,” she wrote.
Rosamond added Kimley-Horn did not take into account pass-by, though incorporated “10% multimodal (walking, biking, & transit) use assumption to account for patrons that may walk or bike to the site from the surrounding shopping center, residences, and hotels.”
Senior planning member Pat O’Mahoney requested the firm submit a TIA waiver request letter to go with its technical review committee submission. The committee works with developers to ensure its plans follow regulations with necessary permits.
No one from Dave & Buster’s or Mayfaire responded to PCD’s questions or a request for comment by press.
Dave & Buster’s operates around 200 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. The closest one to Wilmington is in Myrtle Beach, though there are four in North Carolina, including two in the Charlotte area, another in Cary and Winston-Salem.
In the last few years, the Dallas-based company planned a global expansion into Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Australia and India.
This year it has a goal to remodel roughly 45 stores and open a dozen new outlets, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, with growth expected to reach 48 new stores in the next three years.
If all signs point to go in Wilmington, the entertainment complex will become the largest of its ilk in town. Nine miles away in downtown Wilmington, bar and arcade Rally Point opened in the fall. A different bar and arcade, also locally owned, is slated to come to South 15th Street in the Cargo District by summer 2024.
The bar and arcade trend isn’t new to the Wilmington area; the last large-scale complex in town close to Dave & Buster’s caliber was called Alleigh’s. It first launched on New Centre Drive next to Walmart in the late ‘90s before transitioning its name to Wilson’s in the early aughts.
Owned by Larry Wilson — best known decades ago for the localized grocery store chain of the same name — the entertainment facility included three stages for live music, a dinner theater, multiple bars and kitchens as well as 10,000-square-feet of games. It closed in 2008 and is now Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
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