Aug 19, 2019
Piece by piece, the old Macy’s at Tuttle Crossing is disappearing.

Much of the marble flooring and showroom lighting is going away and making room for blacklights, arcade games and some pretty hefty indoor attractions. For the first time, Scene 75 is giving a peek behind the work in progress.

Dayton-based entertainment company Scene 75 bought the former Macy’s at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing for $3 million. The company has put in $15 million to transform the two-floor, 225,000-square-foot space into a family entertainment center that will be one of the largest in the United States.

And while plenty of work remains to be done before the center opens in about two months, it’s already got the feel of an indoor amusement park complete with go-karts, a roller coaster, a drop zone, hundreds of arcade games and one enormous viewing screen.

“We’re really going bold with this place,” Thomas Bustillo, guest services manager at the soon-to-open location, said as he walked through the facility Thursday, weaving between people unpacking equipment and chatting over a steady hum of construction noise.

Like several people leading what will be a 170-employee operation, Bustillo moved from Dayton to help introduce the concept to Columbus.

[wonderplugin_slider id=1]

Here’s a rundown of the attractions set to be included:

  • At least 215 arcade games, including classics like Centipede and newer names like Halo;

  • An indoor roller coaster with spinning cars, which will be a first for a Scene 75 location;

  • A drop zone-style ride that rises from the ground floor through the second floor;

  • A large laser tag arena that allows up to three teams to compete on various games;

  • A large indoor go-kart track that will be among the longest of its locations;

  • Three escape rooms created by a Pittsburgh-based company, IQ Escape;

  • A 2,000-square-foot inflatable obstacle park;

  • An 18-hole blacklight putt-putt course;

  • An indoor motion simulator ride;

  • “Archery tag” featuring “arrows” tipped with soft felt balls and an archery range;

  • Multiple full bars and snack stands, including a magic-themed dining area for families and a 200-seat “fire and ice” restaurant;

  • A banquet area that will be able to host at least 550 people;

  • An indoor batting range that will be rentable by the bay and will let players choose different kind of pitches;

  • A large indoor fieldhouse with space for games ranging from Lacrosse to soccer and more that can also be used by teams and little leagues;

  • An esports arena for video game tournaments;

  • A special area for toddlers and younger children.

It’s certainly drawn interest; Scene 75’s Columbus page, which frequently shares milestones of its ramp-up, already has 23,000 likes on Facebook, alongside 235,000 on the company’s main account.

Jonah Sandler, founder of Scene 75, opened the first location a few years ago in an industrial building north of Dayton, and it quickly gained a substantial following. The concept of a family entertainment center with large-scale attractions then spread to other cities including Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

But the Central Ohio location is a chance for a new experiment. The company is setting it up in an anchor tenant space of a mall, replacing an old Macy’s store.

Sandler said this is a concept that could be replicated in other malls as the struggle with vacancy following the bankruptcy of big retailers like Bon-Ton and others. Scene 75 is expecting 400,000 visitors a year at this location, which could be a major traffic boost to Tuttle Crossing.

Mike Costantini of Cincinnati-based 3CRE Commercial Real Estate is Scene 75’s broker for all of its real estate deals.