It’s All Fun and Games for Kids (of All Ages): Main Event Coming to Bridge Street Town Centre

Remember the arcade from your days long ago, the big place with Galaga, Centipede, Pac-Man, pinball machines, Skee-ball and air hockey? Perhaps a pool table or two, as well, with a line of stacked “got next” quarters on the rail?

The Main Event is moving into the former Toys R Us/Babies R Us building.

Now imagine that for adults — and kids, of course — with much more space, bowling, laser tag, billiards and more than 120 arcade games, along with restaurants and beverages including cocktails and craft beer.

That’s what’s coming, with Main Event Entertainment opening a 50,000 square-foot complex at Bridge Street Town Centre.

“They looked at Huntsville and the growth Huntsville will have over the long-term,” said Nikki Columbo, senior vice president of Key Accounts for Bayer Properties, which manages Bridge Street Town Centre. “They’re projecting for 10 to 15 years and what they’re seeing is that growth (in Huntsville) will surpass other markets. They’re looking for long-term.”

This is the first location of Main Event in Alabama and it is slated to open by 2022 but no specific date has been given. It will be a family-friendly option for multiple age groups.

“We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the Huntsville community and bringing our unique family entertainment experience to the area,” said Chris Morris, president and CEO of Main Event. “Our brand promise is to provide guests an opportunity to make memories together while enjoying the best activities and games imaginable all in the comforts of one fun-filled location. We are committed to doing that every single day.

“The team at Bayer Properties was instrumental in making this a reality and we are thankful to be working with a top-notch group on our first-ever location in Alabama.”

Dallas-based Main Event has 44 locations in the United States ranging from 45,000 to 75,000 square feet. The company bills its centers as having state-of-the-art bowling, multi-level laser tag, gravity ropes adventure courses and more. It offers a variety of deals and specials, including happy hour, along with birthday, private and corporate parties/events.

Morris has a strong upper management background in the restaurant and entertainment industries. He has been with California Pizza Kitchen, On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, CEC Entertainment (owners of Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper Pizza), NPC International and Applebee’s International. Morris has opened more than 200 units with five businesses.

Columbo said the scouting for Huntsville began prior to 2020. But the pandemic impact didn’t stop Main Event from moving forward toward opening.

“We kept moving forward and they reorganized as well,” she said. “Coming out of the pandemic they’re moving forward with one or two leases in the country and Huntsville is one of them. I think it’s safe to say they’re not going to open five in the next year. They’re going to open one or two, maybe three, and Huntsville is one of them.

“The essence of Main Event Entertainment and Bridge Street Town Centre fits perfectly. Bridge Street really draws from a large area of the Huntsville market. It draws from 25 to 50 miles, and our core customer is coming from that distance 25-30 times a year for the Bridge Street experience. One of the reasons they planted their flag in Huntsville is they saw traffic patterns and (growth) and saw this as a good opportunity.”

Main Event joins The Cheesecake Factory in announcing a new location at Bridge Street. The Cheesecake Factory will move into the 7,350-square-foot corner location on the south side of the property that previously housed Cantina Laredo. It will be across from P.F. Chang’s and adjacent to Barnes & Noble. Opening is “Winter 2021,” with no specific date announced.

Columbo said Bayer has other projects in the works for Bridge Street but declined to offer specifics. A mixed-use outdoor center, Bridge Street has more than 50 unique or specialty stores, more than 207,000 square feet of Class A office space, the 232-room Westin hotel, 150-room Element by Westin, and a 14-screen Cinemark theatre that is the busiest in Alabama. New developments include Watermark, a 244-unit luxury apartment complex, and the 131-room Hyatt Place hotel.