ASHWAUBENON, Wis. — After two anchor stores, Younkers and Shopko, announced they were closing their doors, the community became concerned about the future of Bay Park Square Mall. But now, there's new hope.
"We had plans submitted yesterday for Dave & Buster's," said Mary Kardoskee, the Village of Ashwaubenon President.
The arcade, restaurant, sports bar is possibly moving into the space previously occupied by Younkers Furniture.
"I’m actually really excited about the Dave & Buster's. There's nothing really like that around here,” said Michelle Jacques, a De Pere resident.
"Just more activities for people to do with their families,” said Green Bay resident Rush Imhotep.
That's not all. The Village of Ashwaubenon says there's also a proposal to open a Blaze Pizza, Mission Barbeque and Panda Express in the mall area next to longhorn steakhouse off Oneida Street.
"I’m in the food industry, so that actually really excites me. I like trying new places,” said Jacques.
Village leaders say people were worried about the mall's future when they heard about the closings of two anchor stores, Younkers and Shopko, but these new plans take away some of their concerns.
"I mean jobs, activities,” said Imhotep. “In terms of the visual aesthetic of it, it's not just going to be nothing there anymore, so I mean it can help in a number of ways."
The village and community members we spoke with hope these new businesses will bring life back into the empty spaces in and around the mall.
"For me it's generating foot traffic into the mall, you don't want your malls to go down,” said Kardoskee.
"A lot of malls are dying and that would be a really good thing not to happen to this mall specifically because it's so thriving,” said Jacques.
The plans still must go through the Village Board for approval before any of the projects can begin. NBC 26 reached out Bay Park Square Mall management, as well as the new businesses that plan to open, but we have not yet received a comment on the projects.