Vancouver Mall to remodel, new venues to open

Vancouver Mall announced an interior remodeling project Tuesday, as well as opening time frames for a new Chick-fil-A restaurant and a Round1 Bowling and Amusement venue.

Round1 is expected to open before the end of the year, according to the mall. The entertainment venue will occupy 48,300 square feet on the upper floor of the anchor tenant space that was formerly home to Sears. A Hobby Lobby craft supply store opened last month on the lower level.

Round One Entertainment is a California-based subsidiary of Japanese company Round One Corporation, which operates a chain of Round1 family entertainment centers that feature activities such as bowling, arcade games, karaoke and indoor playground areas, along with bar and dining services.

The brand opened its first U.S. location in 2010 and has expanded rapidly in the past decade. Its website lists more than 40 current U.S. locations across 24 states, with Vancouver Mall and several more listed as “coming soon” or “future location.”

A COVID-19 information page on the company’s website indicates that at least some Round1 locations were closed earlier in the pandemic, but have begun to reopen. The page lists social distancing measures that the company has enacted, such as closing some games, renting only every other bowling lane, and suspending party reservations indefinitely.

The new Chick-fil-A is currently being built out in the largest of three suites in a new satellite building at the southwest corner of the mall parking lot. The 5,050-square-foot space includes a drive-thru lane and window. It is expected to open in the winter, according to a press release from the mall.

“We are so proud to welcome both Round1 and Chick-fil-A to Vancouver Mall, both coveted brand names that our shoppers will absolutely embrace and enjoy,” mall General Manager Tracy Peters said in a statement. “While these changes would be important announcements at any time, they are especially significant this year as indicators that Vancouver Mall has remained strong and forward-thinking throughout this pandemic.”

Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened last month in a 2,300-square-foot space next door to the future Chick-fil-A. The building’s third suite remains empty. The mall announced plans to build the satellite restaurant building in 2018, and Sears closed later that year. Plans for Round1, Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A and Five Guys all emerged in the first half of 2019.

The new Chick-fil-A will be the chain’s second Vancouver location, and the second from Vancouver resident John Dombroski, who operates the Chick-fil-A at Southeast 164th Avenue and Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard.

The Atlanta-based fast-food chain operates more than 2,600 locations nationwide. The brand’s restaurant grand opening events tend to draw massive crowds thanks to a tradition of awarding free meals for a year to the first 100 local customers in line. The chain is known for being closed on Sundays.

The mall’s remodeling project began earlier this month and will include new carpeting on the upper level and inlays and rugs on the ground level, according to the press release. It will feature new seating throughout the center of the promenade, and new greenery and other landscaping. Concept art released by the mall also depicts a “mobile bar” area with bar-style tables and stools. The work is expected to be completed in November.

The pandemic influenced some of the redesign choices, Peters said, such as the use of vinyl fabric on the new seating to make it easier to wipe down and clean.

The mall has anchored Vancouver’s retail shopping scene since it opened in 1977.

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