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November 24 , 2008

More entertainment venues are coming to Arlington

More entertainment venues are coming to Arlington

November 24, 2008 - Star-Telegram - by Andrea Ahles Move over, dinner and a movie.
Arlington residents are getting more entertainment choices as developers bring in a variety of new concepts.
Dave & Buster’s opens today, and, despite the challenging economy, the people behind the new venues say they are confident of Tarrant County customers’ support.
"Consumers are cutting back on big-ticket items like vacations, but they are still going to want to entertain themselves and their family," said Alan Shor, president and co-founder of The Retail Connection, which developed the Arlington Highlands project, which includes Dave & Buster’s.
In addition to Studio Movie Grill, which opened in 2007, the Highlands is also bringing in Splitsville, a high-end bowling alley concept, with an outdoor patio that features a bowling lane, scheduled to open in February.
And the development team is negotiating to sign a fourth entertainment concept for the Highlands, said Jon Mathes, Retail Connection’s senior vice president.
What’s happening
Arlington is already known as an entertainment destination, with two professional sports venues and Six Flags Over Texas, said Ian Pierce, a real estate analyst at The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services.
"All of those things kind of create a synergy," Pierce said. "Arlington has got the highway access, and South Cooper [Street] is definitely one of the strongest regional sections in Tarrant County."
Pierce said more entertainment concepts are entering the Metroplex and state because of the growth in household incomes and jobs.
For example, Amazing Jake’s, an Arizona family fun center with go-karts and laser tag, opened in Plano in May. And in March, Lucky Strike Lanes announced that its first Texas location will be built in the West 7th development in Fort Worth.
In early 2007, Alley Cats — with a bowling alley, laser tag and rock-climbing wall — opened in south Arlington, the first in this wave of entertainment development.
What’s ahead
Dave & Buster’s is the newest entertainment project in Arlington and the first Tarrant County location for the 25-year-old Dallas-based company. Its 33,000 square feet include an arcade, bar, restaurant and billiard tables.
"This location, for all of the things going on in Arlington and also in Mansfield, this makes it a perfect area," said Mike Theriot, general manager of Dave & Buster’s. He said the company may look at smaller concepts for Southlake and Fort Worth.
Arlington may also add entertainment venues closer to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium and Rangers Ballpark. Although Rangers owner Tom Hicks has postponed Glorypark, his retail town center project that is to include a high-end movie theater complex called iPic, Hicks is looking at developing an entertainment focused center, Rangers Alley, across from the ballpark.
For Splitsville, a dressed-up bowling alley and restaurant concept from Florida, choosing Arlington for its first Texas location made sense because of the retail and restaurants that are already along the I-20 corridor.
"We loved the fact that in Arlington you can get a little bit of a 'big fish in a small pond’ feel," said Splitsville co-founder Mark Gibson. "We’ll get the restaurant customers before dinner or after dinner." Arlington Highlands - Splitsville
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