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A fast-growing entertainment company has plans to put its first Nebraska location at Gateway Mall.

The mall announced Wednesday that Round1 Bowling & Amusement, a Japanese company with U.S. operations based in California, will be opening an entertainment center at the mall sometime in spring 2019.

The 50,000-square-foot center will be located in Gateway’s J.C. Penney wing, with an exterior entrance accessible from the east side of the mall.

Round1 centers offer bowling, arcade games, pool tables, karaoke and other entertainment. The centers also have a restaurant and bar. They're open 365 days a year.

According to its website, Round1 has about 20 centers open, with plans for close to 20 more in the works. The closest ones to Lincoln are in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colorado, and two locations on the Chicago outskirts.

“We are excited to open our store in the Gateway Mall,” Shane Kaji, director of business development at Round1, said in a news release. “We hope to bring in our unparalleled family entertainment experience to the community and will strive to provide unforgettable service to all customers.”

Gateway is following a national trend of malls adding entertainment and other options outside of traditional retail.

According to real estate data company CoStar Group, about 9 percent of space in large malls is now dedicated to entertainment, such as movie theaters and fitness or recreational centers.

Drew Myers, a senior analyst with CoStar, said entertainment tenants take up more than 6 million more square feet in U.S. malls than they did in 2012.

This so-called "experiential" retail helps to fill space vacated by the closing of brick-and-mortar retailers, especially large department stores. It also appeals to millennial shoppers.

In Gateway's case, the mall is not filling empty space, at least not with Round1 itself. The mall is relocating eight tenants to make way for the center. Gateway officials said in the news release that the process should be complete by April 16, after which demolition of the spaces and construction of Round1's space will begin.

Gateway on Tuesday filed a $1.6 million building permit for the work.

Tenants relocating to other spots in the mall include Icing, GNC, Payless ShoeSource, Spencer Gifts and Western World.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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