REAL ESTATE

GameWorks to expand footprint nationwide

BY Marianne Wilson

An action-packed concept that combines dining, retail and gaming — with a focus on the fast-growing esports category — is looking to go big.

GameWorks is partnering with JLL, which will oversee site selection and transaction services on behalf of the retailer. Targeting millennials, teens and families, GameWorks currently operates seven entertainment centers in seven states. The locations, averaging 20,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft. each, feature a large arcade gaming floor with some 140 arcade and video games and in-store shop and a branded restaurant, The Works Kitchen at GameWorks. Some sites also feature additional entertainment options such as virtual reality experiences and laser tag.

But the heart of the GameWorks’ concept is its esports emphasis. Each location features an esports lounge that is equipped with, on average, 20 to 40 PCs and consoles and an extensive library of approximately 100 of the most popular, up-to-date video games. Venues host hundreds of tournaments and events, attracting tens of thousands of guests annually who participate, play socially or just watch. [Esports, which involve live video game competitions, are growing at a breakneck pace. Conservative estimates project that the global esports market will be a $1.5 billion industry by 2020.]

“Our goal with our expansion plans is to open large locations in key cities, each with full-service, high-tech, high-touch lounges and further strengthen our leadership position in an explosive market that continues to boom,” said GameWorks chairman and CEO Philip N. Kaplan. “GameWorks is right there with an esports experience that brings players and spectators the experience they demand. We look forward to working with JLL to expand our footprint throughout the country,”

JLL said it is working with GameWorks’ executives to identify key markets, submarkets, and neighborhoods to expand into and meet the goals of the company.

As the retail industry evolves, experiential entertainment venues continue to be a vital draw for shopping centers, retail corridors, and the overall community,” said JLL’s Scott Wetzel who, along with Joe Bevan, is overseeing site selection and transaction services for GameWorks. “GameWorks is the ideal complement for retailers looking to drive customer traffic.”

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