By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The village’s Site Plan Review Committee and Plan Commission both backed amendments Tuesday, July 2, to Bay Park Square’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) overlay zoning district to accommodate four new restaurants proposed for the area.
Plans presented to the village call for a Dave & Buster’s restaurant and arcade to locate in the former Younkers Furniture Gallery.
A Panda Express Chinese Kitchen will be on an outlot south of IHOP and two restaurants – Blaze Pizza and Mission BBQ – have been proposed on an outlot together in one building located just north of the Longhorn Steakhouse.
Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said the PUD amendments add the two outlots fronting Oneida Street and will also remove the prohibition on box or cabinet-type signs to accommodate a sign with the Dave & Buster’s logo that’s commonly used.
Schuette said about one-third to one-half of the former Younkers Furniture Gallery store will be demolished with that area becoming parking to replace the parking taken up with the two outlots.
The plans provided to the village show Dave & Buster’s will occupy around 27,000 square feet in the mall with approximately another 5,500 square feet adjacent to it available for retail use.
Those plans also note the Panda Express will be located in a 2,500-square-foot building, while on the outlot with two restaurants in one building the Mission BBQ would be around 3,500 square feet with Blaze Pizza having about 2,500 square feet.
Representative of Simon, which manages the Bay Park Square mall, and others with an interest in the new restaurants were on hand for the meetings.
Scott Richardson of Simon said having new restaurants locate at Bay Park Square is good news.
“I know there’s been a lot of concern about malls, and Bay Park Square in general, with the department store closings,” he said. “We’re committed to Bay Park Square, and today is a step in the right direction to making sure that Bay Park remains the viable retail destination.”
Richardson said food-and-beverage businesses, along with those involved in entertainment, are high priorities for Simon to attract to the mall.
“We’ve got the best of both worlds here, because we’ve got Dave & Buster’s, which is both food and entertainment, and we’ve got a couple… outlots where we can do the food and beverage component as well,” he said.
Richardson said demolition/construction for Dave & Buster’s could begin in August with the retail space planned adjacent to it available for a tenant that would be interested.
“We don’t have a retailer identified yet, but it can also be outward facing, or it can be outward facing and have access to the enclosed mall,” he said. “It’s just a matter of who’s interested.”
Richardson said an agreement has been reached to bring Panda Express to the mall, but a deal has not yet been finalized to have Mission BBQ and Blaze Pizza in another building on an outlot.
“The Panda Express construction could begin this fall as well,” he said. “They actually are a well-oiled machine, and they can turn these things out quickly. That could open as early as early next year. The other building, we just have to get our leases done with the prospective tenants, then we can break ground…”
The PUD is being forwarded to the village board for final approval at its July 23 meeting.
The Site Plan Review Committee also approved a site plan for Dave & Buster’s and Panda Express.
Schuette said building elevations and the site layout have to be formalized for the two-tenant building proposed for Blaze Pizza and Mission BBQ before approval of that site plan could be sought from the committee.