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Saugus has questions about entertainment complex proposed for Square One Mall

July 16, 2017


SAUGUS — Round one of conversations about a proposed new entertainment complex at the Square One Mall have been timed out until August, but residents are still letting their concerns be known.

A representative from Round One Entertainment, Inc., a family entertainment center with arcades, bowling, karaoke, billiards, ping pong, and a bar, attended Wednesday night’s public hearing seeking the transfer of a beer and wine common victualer’s license, entertainment license, and a license for coin-operated devices, to request that the meeting be continued to a later date.

In a written statement to the board, Shawn Butler, who is in charge of design and construction, requested the hearing be taken off the July 12 agenda, citing the absence of the potential manager and a miscommunication of what needed to be completed before the hearing.

In an initial proposal written in the form of a letter to the Board of Selectmen, Shintaro Kaji of Round One Entertainment said the business started in Japan, where more than 100 stores are currently operating. The business spread to the United States seven years

ago, and today there are 15 arcades in nine states. A Saugus location would join Taunton as the second Massachusetts operation.

Plans for the family entertainment center include 300 arcade games, 14 bowling lanes, eight billiard tables, four karaoke rooms, two ping pong tables, and two dart machines. Beer, wine, and “typical bowling alley foods,” would be sold, Kaji said in the letter.

The applicants did not provide a presentation on their business model, and won’t until a meeting on Aug. 12. But residents still voiced concerns with major factors outlined in the written proposal: the location, the combination of alcohol and games, and the 2 a.m. closing time. The business owners are interested in opening the arcade in a

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