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New entertainment center, Barnes and Noble spin-off coming to Mall in Columbia

Two new tenants will take up the top floor of the Sears store at The Mall in Columbia by fall 2018 as the department store shrinks from two floors to one.

Barnes and Noble will open a new store concept launched last year that expands the traditional bookstore cafe into an all-day restaurant with wine and table-side service.

Main Event Entertainment, a Dallas-based company, will also open an entertainment center in the former Sears top floor that includes bowling, laser tag, billiards, video games and a full-service restaurant, according to Barb Nicklas, senior general manager of The Mall in Columbia.

A third concept is on the way, but details have not been made public, Nicklas said.

"We are always continually evolving in order to provide our customers with the best retail and restaurant assortment," she said. "Bringing these new first-to-the-market kind of concepts is very exciting."

The Sears building in Columbia, which includes an auto center, was sold to to a joint venture of Seritage Growth Partners and mall owner General Growth Properties. This year, Sears announced plans to close 150 stores across the nation.

Sears will continue to sell clothing and other merchandise on the first floor of its store in the mall.

Other changes are also along the way as new residential buildings scrape the skies opposite the mall.

The mall's center court seating areas, which are currently closed, will also get upgrades by June. Designs have not been finalized yet, but GGP hopes to "re-imagine" the spaces to create more convenient seating spaces, Nicklas said.

A poinsettia tree that is a hallmark of the holiday season will remain in the same location during the holiday season. A fountain, a relic of the mall since it opened, will be removed in response to feedback from customers who said it was becoming an impediment for foot traffic and shopping, Nicklas said.

Four retailers, including H&M, Forever21, Finish Line and Build-a-Bear, are re-crafting their locations. Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream, a store that makes ice cream with liquid nitrogen, and Z Gallerie, a home decor store, are also scheduled to open in June this year.

GGP plans to announce later this year a new tenant to take the place of Uno's Grill, a restaurant that left space that fronts the mall in March.

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