Dave & Buster’s targets Hawthorn Mall
A rendering of Dave & Buster's at Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills.
Updated: January 28, 2013 2:42PM
VERNON HILLS – Arcades are a thing of the past when it comes to malls. Westfield Hawthorn Mall might become the exception.
Executives from Dave & Buster’s presented preliminary plans to the Vernon Hills Village Board on Dec. 18, hoping to open the entertainment venue by late 2013 if a special use zoning permit gets approved in the coming months.
Most of the 4,000-square-foot facility would be on the second level next to Sears, where GlowGolf is now located.
One of the two entrances would be on the first floor of the mall so customers’ ages could be verified and seating scheduled before going upstairs. The other entrance would be from the parking lot for when the mall closes.
Assistant Village Manager John Kalmar said Dave & Buster’s would renovate the existing mall space and not need to build onto the mall. Exterior façade would be installed to represent the company’s marque orange and blue colors.
Those exterior renovations would go in hand with other mall upgrades management promised village trustees in April while asking for a $7.5 million sales tax rebate agreement. That money would contribute to a $40 million to $50 million overall renovation.
Within those plans includes a 12-screen AMC movie theatre that would be constructed and attached to the existing mall.
Village President Roger Byrne asked Lisa Warren, Dave & Buster’s vice president of development, if opening a Vernon Hills facility was connected to Westfield’s ability to get AMC to sign a contract.
Warren reluctantly said Dave & Buster’s is not tied to any AMC decisions.
If approved by Vernon Hills and a lease with the mall is agreed upon, the new arcade/restaurant would be the fourth Dave & Buster’s in Illinois. The first was in Addison in 1995, followed by Chicago and Orland Park locations in recent years.
Addison Village Manager Joseph Block said Dave & Buster’s has lived up to all the hype and expectations.
“It’s a great business that serves both the corporate world and families,” Block said. “We see a lot of regional companies hold their corporate holiday parties at Dave & Buster’s.”
The building is located on the edge of an industrial park just off Interstate 355. Block said if the Addison Dave & Buster’s gets significant traffic, attendance in a mall venue would be “off the chart.”
“They are phenomenal,” Block said. “They know what they’re doing when it comes to operations and security. They work real closely with our police force and we very rarely have any incidents over there.”
When other businesses in Addison have alcohol-related issues, Block said he refers them to Dave & Buster’s management team for advice.
Shortly after Dave & Buster’s opened in Addison, Block said it was used to attract redevelopment half a dozen miles away – including a movie theater.
The Vernon Hills/Libertyville/Mundelein business community is eager to see plans become final.
“This indoor entertainment facility with a restaurant, sports bar and arcade games, is well known in many cities across the country,” said Carol Levin, spokesperson for the GLMV Chamber of Commerce. “This bustling business will be a great addition to our community, which in turn should bring an increase in traffic to the mall and for our other local members as well.”
As for job growth, Dave & Buster’s would reportedly hire between 140 and 160 employees for the Vernon Hills facility.