Almost two years after Sears closed down its Vancouver Mall location, the anchor tenant space it left behind is poised to come back to life with the arrival of Hobby Lobby. The arts and crafts retail chain will hold a grand opening for the new location Sept. 14, according an employee who answered the phone at the store.
Hobby Lobby is a chain of more than 800 craft stores, headquartered in Oklahoma City. The new Vancouver store is taking over the majority of the lower half of the two-story anchor space. The updated exterior entrance facing the south mall parking lot is already visibly complete with signage in place.
News of the arts and crafts chain’s arrival first surfaced in March 2019 when Seritage Growth Properties, the real estate company that owned the former Sears space at the time, posted a webpage listing Hobby Lobby as the primary ground-floor tenant.
The listing also detailed plans for the upper floor of the anchor space, which is slated to become a Round1 venue. Round1 is a chain of entertainment facilities that typically offer bowling, arcade games, karaoke and a variety of other family-friendly activities.
Hobby Lobby will take up most of the ground-floor space, but not all of it. A more recent online flyer from current property owner Rhino Investments shows a separate section along the north side of the property where it connects to the rest of the mall, consisting of 15,000 square feet of still-unclaimed space plus a small piece set aside for a ground-floor entrance to the future Round1 venue.
The flyer also highlights a still-vacant 6,183-square-foot space at the southeast corner of the property, in what was formerly the Sears Auto Center.
Hobby Lobby isn’t the only big-name debut on the way at the mall. Burger chain Five Guys Burgers and Fries also appears poised to open its new Vancouver Mall location in a matter of days or weeks, although there still hasn’t been an official opening date announcement.
The restaurant’s exterior signage is in place, and most of its interior furnishing appears to have been installed. Construction vehicles and fencing have been withdrawn from the parking lot in front, and a series of “now hiring” signs have been placed along a nearby sidewalk.
Representatives for Five Guys and Vancouver Mall could not be reached for comment.
The burger chain was one of two announced tenants in a new mall-owned satellite building at the southwest corner of Vancouver Mall Loop. Plans for the building were first reported in 2018, and the project began construction last year.
The other upcoming tenant is chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A, but that one appears to still have a little further to go — a large sign bearing the restaurant’s logo has been installed above the front door, but its front parking lot area remains a fenced-off work zone. The third and final suite of the new satellite building is empty.
One additional new feature is on the way at the mall: the MyPerks Lounge, described as a dedicated in-mall space for members of the mall’s MyPerks loyalty program. In a press release, the mall announced plans to hold a grand opening party for program members from 1 to 4 p.m. today.
In other nearby development news, the new My Place Hotel under construction along the outer north side of Vancouver Mall Loop is nearing completion and is slated to open in November, according to the company’s website.
Plans for the 64-unit hotel surfaced in January 2019, and the project broke ground in March 2020. The hotel chain was founded in 2012 by Ron Rivett, who co-founded the Super 8 Motel brand, and his grandson Ryan Rivett.