This is going to be awesome. Getting Dave & Buster's is HUGE. I went to the one in Dallas a few years back and it was really fun.

Finally a kickstart to bringing back Eastern Hills. Hopefully it will spill over to the Clarence Mall strip.

Eastern Hills Mall signs Dave & Buster's

Bill Wippert/Buffalo News
The former Burlington Coat Factory space at the Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence will house the new Dave & Buster's entertainment center.

The Eastern Hills Mall has pulled off a coup by adding a giant entertainment complex to its stores, something that the Galleria was also trying to do.

Dave & Buster's has signed a lease to take over the empty Burlington Coat Factory space at Eastern Hills, said Jeffrey S. Taylor, managing director of Mountain Development Corp., the mall's owner. Dave & Buster's has several restaurants, bars and arcades under one roof. The mall expects the complex to open in August.

Because of SEC rules regarding public companies, Dave & Buster's said it could not comment.

"It's going to bring a great deal of traffic to the other stores in the mall and jump start our repositioning of the mall," Taylor said.

Since buying the region's second largest mall in 2003, Mountain Development has pumped millions into the shopping center that was about 25 percent vacant. The mall has gotten a new food court with plasma TVs and fireplaces. Outside, the mall has a new sign, paint job, roof, landscaping and security system.

Special promotions for Halloween, children's theater and other activities draw hundreds of participants.

And with mall traffic and sales up, new tenants have set up shop. Eastern Hills got the outlet versions of Petit Sophisticate, Casual Corner and Casual Corner Woman. Colton RV may have the largest indoor motor coach showroom in the state at Buffalo-Niagara RV & Camping at the back of the mall.

With the addition of Dave & Busters, the vacancy rate would fall to 12 percent. And the mall is near signing a lease with a sportings good and apparel store that would take the former Old Navy space, Taylor said. That deal would bring the vacancy rate to 7 percent.

Dave & Buster's is the most prestigious tenant to sign a lease at the reinvigorated Eastern Hills.

The Dallas-based company started in 1982 and today operates 42 locations in the United States, plus a location in Toronto. In November, it bought nine Jillian's locations, which will stay under that name.

It offers customers pocket billiards, shuffleboard, state-of the-art simulators, virtual reality and traditional carnival-style amusements and games of skill in which players can win coupons redeemable for merchandise.

In 2004, its sales grew 3 percent to $363 million and Dave & Buster's made $11 million.

Nearly half its revenue comes from its games. Food represents about a third of sales and liquor makes up about a fifth.