PARAMUS — Two new Hasbro attractions will open at Westfield Garden State Plaza at the end of next year, as the mall joins a nationwide trend of bringing in entertainment offerings to counter the rise of online shopping.
“This has been a focus for us for a long time,” Dennis Marnick, senior vice president of flagship leasing at the mall’s owner, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. “We knew that we wanted to add more layers to the experience at Garden State Plaza.”
Hasbro and Kingsmen Xperience, the U.S. branch of an Asian firm that builds interactive attractions, will open the first North American location of Nerf Action Xperience and the world’s first Planet Playskool kids experience at the mall by the end of 2023, the companies announced in a statement last week.
Paramus is one of the best retail markets in the country, making it the perfect home for these two new experiences, said Marnick. With a strong performing AMC movie theater, the mall wanted to add opportunities for family entertainment, which led them to connect with Kingsmen Xperience, he said.
Planet Playskool will be a 20,000 square-foot indoor entertainment center focused on children and families that will allow them to play and test out different toys, such as Play-Doh, from Playskool, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc that produces educational toys and games.
“They have these legacy brands that your grandpa knows or your dad knows and now the child knows,” said Marnick. “I look at it as a really cool family experience not just focused on children.”
The 25,000-square-foot Nerf Action Xperience will offer a variety of different obstacle courses for all age groups. The venue will be available for birthday parties, team-building events and other gatherings, Marnick added.
The two indoor entertainment centers will be located at the former J.C. Penny area of the mall, which closed in 2018. The east side of the space became home to flagship stores such as Old Navy, Champs Sports, lululemon and Adidas. On the west side, near Neiman Marcus, the mall saw an opportunity to bring entertainment opportunities, especially since Garden State Plaza is planning on adding residential development.
“We’re looking at 150,000 square feet in the center of our shopping center,” said Marnick. “We feel like that’s really going to remake that side of the shopping center.”
The two new entertainment centers will join The Arena STEM, an existing indoor amusement center that offers STEM activities and workshops.
Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.