New Jersey mall to get first Nerf Action Xperience in US
The Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield shopping center group has snagged a rental price with the news that the first Nerf Action Xperience attraction in North America will open at one of its main shopping centers, Westfield Garden State Plaza in New Jersey.
This mall will also get another Hasbro-themed experiential attraction
The announcement that Hasbro’s licensing partner, Kingsmen Xperience, Inc., will open the mall’s two attractions is the result of a plan by Hasbro to transform its toy brands into entertainment and lifestyle brands at multiple facets that go far beyond the toy box.
The plan reflected the vision of the late CEO of Hasbro, Brian Goldner, and Nerf was chosen as the ideal toy brand to test that vision. Goldner in early 2021 outlined plans for a Nerf TV show, TikTok channel, virtual reality game, NFL partnership and other brand extensions, including entertainment arcades where gamers could try out Nerf blasters and engage in battles using the toys, which fire foam darts.
Nerf’s enthusiastic fanbase
Nerf is a brand with a huge and highly engaged fan base around the world, a fan base that turns out in the thousands for Nerf battles and encounters. In 2019, Kingsmen Creatives LTD, the parent company of the US subsidiary opening the first US Nerf entertainment center, opened the first example of its 2019 Nerf-themed entertainment centers in Singapore.
The pandemic has stalled Kingsmen’s plans for a global rollout of Nerf Entertainment Centers. The announcement of the Nerf and Playskool attractions at Westfield Garden State Plaza “marks the resumption of our drive to deliver new and unparalleled experiences around the world, after a two-year hiatus,” said Andrew Cheng, CEO of Kingsmen Group. . “Markets are opening up and there is a demand for such immersive and engaging branded content,” Cheng said.
The 25,000 square foot Nerf Action Experience at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ will not only be a place where visitors can play with Nerf blasters, but will also be the location for team building outings, children’s birthday parties and other events. .
The Nerf site and 20,000 Planet Playskools will fill the last two vacancies in the mall’s former JC Penney department store, which the mall has converted into new retail space.
Both attractions are scheduled to open in the second half of 2023.
A victory for Westfield
Getting the first Nerf Action Experience is a win for Westfield Garden State as malls compete for new experiences that will draw visitors to malls in a time when more shopping is happening online.
“It’s a huge deal. You think of all the properties they could be looking at around the country, and they chose to partner with URW and Garden State,” said Dennis Marnick, senior vice president, leasing at URW.
“It’s going to continue to set us apart from anything else out there,” Marnick said.
Westfield Garden State Plaza, one of the brightest stars in URW’s mall portfolio in the United States, has recently made efforts to attract family entertainment venues.
One of its main rivals, located just 10 miles south on the New Jersey Turnpike, the American Dream Mall, announced last year that it had landed a Hasbro-themed attraction, The Gameroom Powered by Hasbro. The attraction was described as an arcade-style venue with video games and interactive games featuring Hasbro brands like Monopoly, GI Joe, and My Little Pony.
A spokesperson for American Dream said the mall has yet to announce an opening date for the attraction.
Paris-based URW acquired Westfield malls in 2018 but announced in March that it planned to shed its U.S. malls by the end of 2023. Analysts reacted to the news saying that While many of the 24 U.S. mall properties could prove to be a tough sell, the portfolio’s best-performing malls, like Westfield Garden State Plaza, could attract buyers.