A family-friendly video game lounge is coming to TownMall of Westminster this week.
The Battleground Lounge is a premium social gaming lounge focused on uniting video game players of all ages. The lounge features over 80 systems and leather reclining seats.
Battleground Lounge will have a soft opening Wednesday at 6 p.m., offering free game playing time to the first 30 people. There will be second round of free game time at 7 p.m. for the next 30 people that go, according to their Facebook page.
The lounge will host a grand opening Friday at 4 p.m., with a DJ at 9 p.m. and food from Auntie Anne’s and Chik-Fil-A.
The idea of the lounge started from the minds of Mike Borris and Anthony Dejesus seeing a lack of things kids have to do in Westminster.
“They’ve got the Fun and Fit Factory there [in the mall], they’ve got [the Sportsman's Hall Roller Skating Center off Md. 30], they’ve got a bounce house — that’s about it,” Borris said. “There’s so many elementary schools and middle schools. I have a daughter in high school, a daughter in middle school and a daughter in elementary school, so I know from the different age brackets what there is for kids to do around here.”
The lounge is co-owned by Borris, Dejesus and John Wah.
Gaming meets community at Xanadu Games at Laurel Park, where gamers connect over "fighting games" and weekly competitions. Xanadu Games moved from Arbutus to a new facility at Laurel Park last March and seeks to draw more customers there, according to the president of the Maryland Jockey Club.
By Hallie Miller
Jan 15, 2019 at 6:00 AM
The idea of the lounge kept expanding more and more between Borris and Dejesus until Battleground started to come to fruition. At first, they were only going to do tournaments, but then the idea evolved into a lounge.
“The whole lounge idea came about where, let’s get somewhere kids can go at nighttime and stay out of trouble, hang out, get out of their secluded areas where they’re just in their rooms playing or basements playing games,” Borris said. “Let’s get them out and get them socializing.”
The lounge can seat over 100 people. There are two lounges in the front of Battleground for parents. The parent lounges include old gaming consoles like the Super NES, Sega Genesis and the original Playstation so they can experience some nostalgia.
They have added a snack bar and arcade to the lounge as well.
The lounge is open late, so after mall hours, patrons will have to use an entrance on the side of the mall, where security or someone from the mall will be. Borris said he plans to have Westminster police at the lounge, something he hopes will give parents peace of mind.
Westminster police Chief Thomas Ledwell said he is supportive of policing at the mall and is aware that Battleground Lounge will want police stationed there, though he has not received an official request from them. If Westminster police do staff the lounge, they would do so while off duty, Ledwell said.
When Jean Yates opened her Westminster store The Mustard Seed in 2003, she said, it was a day of excitement, with balloons filling the front window in celebration. Now, as she plans to close the doors in mid-June, Yates is filled with gratitude for unexpected rewards she found along the way.
The lounge will host weekly tournaments, the entry cost of which will depend on the kind of tournament, how big the prizes are, how many people are expected to be in attendance and the age bracket.
On a regular weekday, attendees can buy game passes at $6 for 30 minutes, $10 for one hour or $20 for three hours. On the weekend, attendees can buy game passes at $7 for 30 minutes, $11 for one hour or $25 for three hours. Gamers can also add $5 to their game passes for all-day lounge access.
“I think it’ll certainly help,” Borris said. “I think it’ll bring in a lot of traffic, especially for the kids that are coming in, I think the parents will want to walk around. I think it will definitely help mall revenue in the other stores and hoping that it will bring some more retail stores into the mall.”
An emailed statement from the Texas-based Woodmont Company, which manages TownMall, said the lounge will introduce “another entertainment dimension” to the mall.
Our leasing strategy for the mall was to add an experimental component such as Battleground Lounge, where we have seen similar uses filling vacant stores at malls throughout the country,” Frederick J. Meno, president and CEO of asset services for the Woodmont Company, said in the statement. “These uses have been successful at driving traffic and sales to the mall not only for the new tenant but also to the existing retailers in the center.”
“We’re trying to appeal to all ages,” Borris said. “We want kids to feel comfortable and we want parents to feel comfortable and adults, even if they’re not parents. We’d like to keep it a safe, family-friendly environment.”