John Schweiger has plans for the SouthShore Mall. Big plans.
After Ashland, Oregon-based Coming Attractions Theaters bought the mall property in June, Schweiger has overseen general maintenance of the building and broken ground on the construction of a “fun center.” Schweiger said his goal is to have the renovated mall opened in late October or November.
Schweiger, Coming Attractions’ founder and chief executive officer, said the Extreme Fun Center will include a race track on one side of the former J.C. Penney as well as four lanes of minibowling, a 4,500-square-foot laser gun maze, bumper cars, video games and a small play area for children.
The race track will take up 22,000 square feet of the entertainment center. Schweiger said there are five different types of cars, with settings for younger riders and adults. He said that the track will have the option of splitting into two separate raceways, with one suited for beginners.
The track’s 20 cars have already been shipped to Aberdeen and are in storage.
“It’s absolutely addicting,” Schweiger said of the racing. “You get out there and you can’t wait to do it again.”
A number of video games will be set up in the fun center, allowing those who play a chance at winning tickets and points that can be redeemed for prizes.
All-ages bumper cars will be stationed next to the minibowling lanes, which will be rented out by the hour. Schweiger said people will be able to buy their race track time online, too.
Maintenance crews at the mall have been landscaping the property, cleaning the parking lot and filling cracks in the asphalt since it was purchased. The curbing around the shopping center will be redone and the parking lot is going to be restriped.
A portion of the building has been pressure-washed and new shrubbery will be planted, Schweiger said.
Schweiger is waiting on approval for a new sign on the highway that will identify stores in the mall. He said he also is considering changing the mall’s name.
Some stores in the mall will remain tenants, but Schweiger said he is talking with a handful of businesses and restaurants about moving into the mall.
Schweiger is confident that the additions he’s overseeing will bring success to the struggling shopping center.
“Right now the mall’s got a bad reputation and I’m trying to eliminate that. Well, I will eliminate it,” he said.