Franchisee Wisam Assaedi, whose family firm will own the Launch Family Entertainment...

Franchisee Wisam Assaedi, whose family firm will own the Launch Family Entertainment location in Green Acres Mall, bounces on a trampoline at the company's Launch Trampoline Park Queens in Howard Beach. Credit: Howard Simmons

Green Acres Mall is boosting its entertainment offerings as it plans a $100 million revamp to draw more high-end stores.

Launch Family Entertainment, which has bowling, trampolines, an arcade, a ninja warrior course and food, will open a 34,181-square-foot venue in the Valley Stream mall in late 2024 or early 2025, franchisee Wisam “Sammy” Assaedi said.

Also, family-friendly Chuck E. Cheese, known for  its mouse mascot, arcade games, pizza parties, and the slogan “where a kid can be a kid,” will be opening in a 12,889-square-foot space at Green Acres Commons, the shopping center adjacent to the mall, in February, as Newsday reported earlier this month.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Launch Family Entertainment, which has bowling, trampolines, an arcade, a ninja warrior course and food, will open in Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream in late 2024 or early 2025, the franchisee said.
  • Green Acres' owner, The Macerich Co., plans to bring more entertainment and other experiential uses to the mall, an official said.
  • Macerich  plans to redevelop up to 400,000 square feet on the eastern side of the mall at t a cost of $100 million to $115 million. The project would include the addition of a ShopRite supermarket and demolition of the former Sears and Sears Auto.

The changes are part of plans to diversify the mall's tenant lineup more, said Eric Bunyan, senior vice president of leasing at The Macerich Co., the Santa Monica, California-based real estate investment trust that owns Green Acres Mall and Green Acres Commons.

“We are looking to bring in more entertainment and more experiential uses,” he said.

Launch will have an interior entrance on the mall’s second floor, which is not part of the large redevelopment planned for the property, but it is an area that is more challenging than the first floor for generating retail demand, he said.

“Our high-performing tenants are on the ground level, not the second level. Launch is a destination use and a traffic generator,” he said. 

Of the 28 Launch parks open in 14 states, including Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia, 22 are franchises, said Craig Erlich, chief executive  of Launch Entertainment, which is headquartered in Rhode Island. 

Planning a Launch

The Launch franchise at Green Acres will be in a space that is now part of the two-floor, 73,000-square-foot unit that has been occupied by discount retailer Shoppers World since September 2021. 

Manhattan-headquartered Shoppers World, which has 37 stores that sell discounted clothes, accessories and home furnishings, did not respond to Newsday's request for comment.

The Launch location will be operated by WSF Inc., a family-owned entity whose majority partner is Assaedi.

Patrons balance to avoid falling into a pit of soft...

Patrons balance to avoid falling into a pit of soft cubes at Launch Trampoline Park Queens in Howard Beach. Credit: Howard Simmons

His group opened a franchise called Launch Trampoline Park Queens in Howard Beach in 2018, and it is building a Launch Family Entertainment  in Brooklyn that will open in about six months, he said.

Expanding into Green Acres made sense, said Assaedi, a Queens resident.

“I just know the mall. … And when I go shopping, Green Acres is usually packed, and there’s no entertainment there,” he said.

Founded in Warwick, Rhode Island, in 2012 by Rob and Erin Arnold, Launch started as trampoline venues called Launch Trampoline Parks before the name for new parks was changed to Launch Family Entertainment in 2022, said Erlich, an East Setauket resident.

“It’s really become a full family entertainment center,” he said.

The company began franchising in 2016, he said. Launch expects 19 additional locations to open in 2024 and 2025, he said.

Retail revamp

Macerich announced earlier this month that it was planning a redevelopment of up to 400,000 square feet on the eastern side of the mall that would bring a free-standing, 80,000-square-foot ShopRite supermarket to what is now a parking lot and demolish the former Sears and Sears Auto stores.

Those two buildings would be replaced  with landscaped open spaces, dining terraces/amenity spaces and parking.

The plan also calls for converting the former Kohl’s and adjacent mall shop space to stores and restaurants with outside entrances.

The redevelopment is estimated to cost $100 million to $115 million, Macerich said at a real estate event hosted by the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island at the mall on Jan. 18.

The redevelopment plan requires building approvals from the Town of Hempstead, and that process will start this spring, Macerich said.

Located on Sunrise Highway, Green Acres Mall was built in 1956. Macerich bought the mall for $500 million from Vornado Realty Trust in 2013 and built Green Acres Commons in 2016. The mall and shopping center total 2.06 million square feet.

Among Macerich’s 44 retail properties, Green Acres is the second most-visited, the company said. But since most of Green Acres' tenants sell moderately priced goods, the revamp is needed to bring in higher-end tenants and make the mall more competitive in today’s retail environment, Bunyan said.

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