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updated: 12/20/2012 10:18 AM

Dave & Buster's considers new location in Vernon Hills

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  • The Dave & Buster's chain of amusement centers plans to open its fourth Chicago area location at Westfield Hawthorn mall in Vernon Hills.

    The Dave & Buster's chain of amusement centers plans to open its fourth Chicago area location at Westfield Hawthorn mall in Vernon Hills.
    Courtesy of Dave & Buster's


Dave & Buster's, a restaurant/arcade chain and self-described destination for fun, is proposing a new location in Vernon Hills.

Representatives of the private, Dallas-based company on Tuesday presented plans for a 40,000-square-foot facility at Westfield Hawthorn mall, in what would be its fourth Chicago-area location.

As envisioned, the facility would occupy several existing spaces, including the GlowGolf and Build-A-Bear Workshop, at the southeast mall entrance between Carson's and Sears.

Visitors would enter a lobby from ground level and then take a spiral staircase or elevator to the second floor, which would contain the bulk of the activities. A spot next door would house "one of the more popular" burger places, added Hide Kashima, development director for Westfield.

As presented, the gaming/arcade area would occupy more than a third of the space with between 175 and 200 individual amusement devices, and the restaurant/eating areas would total 568 seats spread throughout. On the main level, there would be a bar area with TVs, booths and tables, as well as a separate dining area and three or four private party rooms.

The Vernon Hills location would be similar to that in Orland Park, according to Lisa Warren, vice president of development. The company also operates in Lombard and Chicago and has a total of 59 locations nationally.

"We're excited to be part of the Westfield redevelopment," she told the board during an informal work session.

Warren was referring to plans announced this past spring of a $40 million to $50 million renovation and expansion of the mall. Village staff is working with Westfield on zoning, building and landscaping matters in advance of the public hearing process expected to begin early next year.

Part of Westfield's plan involves a new entrance between Sears and JCPenney to include new restaurants situated beneath a 12-screen theater. No lease or operator for the theaters has been announced, but trustees were told Dave & Buster's plan would proceed with or without the theaters. Dave & Buster's has not signed a lease with Westfield, according to information provided to trustees, but the company has said it wanted to be open in late 2013 or spring 2014.

An average store has about $10 million in annual sales of food, beverages and arcade games and employs 140 to 160 people. Vernon Hills does not have an amusement tax but would receive a $25 annual license fee per machine.

The plan would require a special use permit to allow a restaurant with alcohol and an arcade with electronic games. The village currently allows a maximum of 50 machines.

Trustees informally agreed with the concept and village staff will begin a review of details.

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