Liberty Center has weathered the coronavirus pandemic relatively well with new businesses opening and those shuttered during the crisis reopening, officials said.
The Funny Bone Comedy Club and Restaurant reopened late last month, The Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern reopened a few weeks ago and the Cobb Luxury 25 & Cinebistro movie theater is slated to open sometime this month, according to John Taylor, general manager for the $350 million mega retail center.
“Funny Bone and the theater were the last two pieces that we needed to get reopened,” Taylor told the Journal-News. “The movie theater, which really helps drive traffic out here to not only the restaurants but also the retail. That entertainment portion was the last one to get back up and running.”
Taylor said the movie theater chain has filed for bankruptcy but officials worked on a deal to allow to allow it to open at Liberty Center, so “they’re not going anywhere.”
The MidPointe Library reopened last week and Frost Factory opened earlier this summer. DAVIDsTea is a national franchise that closed all of its locations, so Taylor doesn’t expect it to come back, but he anticipates Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Qdoba Mexican Eats and Rodizio Grill will reopen in the future.
The center recently announced AKT Fitness, a dance-based cardio fitness and wellness brand, is opening a 2,946-square-foot studio near BRIO Italian Grille in late fall. The studio will offer interval, circuit, dance and toning based fitness classes combined with a small retail space to promote its own fitness apparel and equipment.
“Liberty Center is the perfect location for our second studio. It has the walkability and convenience of meeting up with friends while staying connected in the community,” says Amanda Davis, owner of AKT Fitness. “We think about fitness differently and want it to be a lifestyle and we want it to be fun.”
Family entertainment center In the Game has plans at Liberty Center that the pandemic has delayed, Taylor said.
“Obviously they’ve been affected by everything as well,” he said. “Their other locations are open so we’re working with them to set a new timeline for when they can start construction and when we can get them open. We expect it’ll be sometime next year.”
The Gap was in one of the premier locations at the center but it closed in January 2019. Taylor said they have three or four prospective tenants for that location.
Taylor said officials have tried to be creative to draw crowds back to the center, like drive-in movie night, and they are working with the Funny Bone to have a drive-in stand up comic night.
“Traffic’s been strong, we’ve seen people out and shopping since really end of June and July,” he said. “The afternoon and evening crowds have been good, the restaurants have really seen a bounce-back especially when they reopened.”