First came the dining, now comes the entertainment. If virtual reality games and escape rooms are your jam, along with bowling, arcade-style games and yard games, the Happy Valley/Norterra area will soon have all of this.
As part of its plan to bring a livelier scene to North Phoenix area residents, two new entertainment centers have big plans to open in the Shops at Norterra.
“Our secret sauce is our unique ability to pair the fun of an entertainment center with the excitement of movies at our movie studio-themed BackLot entertainment centers.”Mike Bowers – Harkins CEO & President
To the surprise of many North Phoenix area residents, Best Buy closed in early March, and a few weeks later Harkins Theaters, which operates the Norterra 14 movie theaters, announced it will be taking over the former electronics retailer’s space and converting into a new family entertainment concept.
“Expanding our brand to dedicated family entertainment centers is a natural progression of our innovation legacy,” said Harkins CEO and president Mike Bowers. “Our secret sauce is our unique ability to pair the fun of an entertainment center with the excitement of movies at our movie studio-themed BackLot entertainment centers.”
Harkins BackLot will feature a full-service restaurant and bar, a sports viewing area with large screens featuring digital sound and riser seating, Brunswick bowling lanes, an arcade with video and virtual reality games for all ages, an outdoor patio with yard games and sports viewing, as well as private event space for parties and corporate events.
Harkins anticipates opening the new family entertainment center in 2024.
Opening much sooner is Funtainment AZ in the space vacated by Shasta Pools. Plans include a virtual reality escape room, virtual reality sports games including baseball and tennis.
The vision to bring more dining and entertainment has been in the works since 2018 at the Shops at Norterra when some of the center’s retail space was reconfigured to accommodate additional restaurants like State 48 Brewery, Eggstasy and Osteria Mia with open-air patios.
By Karen Goveia