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Jefferson Pointe play area opens today

Former food court touts local history

A Jefferson Pointe play place debuts today.

The $350,000 recreation area spans 3,500 square feet and replaces the food court at the open-air mall in southwest Fort Wayne.

More than 14 activities, with a local history theme, focus on developing motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and other abilities.

“It’s pretty cool, especially the local history part of it,” said Mike Brooks, general manager.

Located next to Barnes & Noble, the play area has replicas of Johnny Appleseed, colonial-era memorabilia, an F-22 fighter jet and other items.

Brooks said after checking with other retail centers across the state, he believes the play area is the largest among Indiana shopping centers.

The play place marks a departure from the food court concept at the shopping center.

Two years ago, management decided to move in a different direction after having a difficult time keeping eateries along restaurant row.

At the time, Brooks said there was no sense in beating a dead horse as shoppers made it clear that they preferred freestanding restaurants in the surrounding lots. A pizza parlor was one of the last restaurants to operate in the food court.

Jefferson Pointe – one of the largest shopping places in northeast Indiana – struck a deal with Tucanos Brazilian Grill to take up about half of the food court space.

Tucanos is a churrasco-style restaurant, where grilled meats and pineapple are served tableside. Side dishes, salads and soups are available on the salad bar, and appetizers and desserts are also on the menu.

Diners pay for the churrasco experience, which is $22.95 for adults and $8.95 for children ages 7 to 12. Prices for lunch vary.

In 2012, Institutional Mall Investors of Skokie, Illinois, the owner of Jefferson Pointe, said it wanted to recreate the food court, which officials said didn’t necessarily mean more eateries.

Jefferson Pointe was founded in 2001. It has always had a steady stream of eateries come and go.

Mall officials are hoping the play area and Tucanos will provide stability at the 15,000-square-foot location.

pwyche@jg.netA Jefferson Pointe play place debuts today.

The $350,000 recreation area spans 3,500 square feet and replaces the food court at the open-air mall in southwest Fort Wayne.

More than 14 activities, with a local history theme, focus on developing motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and other abilities.

“It’s pretty cool, especially the local history part of it,” said Mike Brooks, general manager.

Located next to Barnes & Noble, the play area has replicas of Johnny Appleseed, colonial-era memorabilia, an F-22 fighter jet and other items.

Brooks said after checking with other retail centers across the state, he believes the play area is the largest among Indiana shopping centers.

The play place marks a departure from the food court concept at the shopping center.

Two years ago, management decided to move in a different direction after having a difficult time keeping eateries along restaurant row.

At the time, Brooks said there was no sense in beating a dead horse as shoppers made it clear that they preferred freestanding restaurants in the surrounding lots. A pizza parlor was one of the last restaurants to operate in the food court.

Jefferson Pointe – one of the largest shopping places in northeast Indiana – struck a deal with Tucanos Brazilian Grill to take up about half of the food court space.

Tucanos is a churrasco-style restaurant, where grilled meats and pineapple are served tableside. Side dishes, salads and soups are available on the salad bar, and appetizers and desserts are also on the menu.

Diners pay for the churrasco experience, which is $22.95 for adults and $8.95 for children ages 7 to 12. Prices for lunch vary.

In 2012, Institutional Mall Investors of Skokie, Illinois, the owner of Jefferson Pointe, said it wanted to recreate the food court, which officials said didn’t necessarily mean more eateries.

Jefferson Pointe was founded in 2001 and is a more than $75 million facility. It has always had a steady stream of eateries come and go.

Mall officials are hoping the play area and Tucanos will provide stability at the 15,000-square-foot location.

pwyche@jg.netA Jefferson Pointe play place debuts today.

The $350,000 recreation area spans 3,500 square feet and replaces the food court at the open-air mall in southwest Fort Wayne.

More than 14 activities, with a local history theme, focus on developing motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and other abilities.

“It’s pretty cool, especially the local history part of it,” said Mike Brooks, general manager.

Located next to Barnes & Noble, the play area has replicas of Johnny Appleseed, colonial-era memorabilia, an F-22 fighter jet and other items.

Brooks said after checking with other retail centers across the state, he believes the Jefferson Pointe play area is the largest among Indiana shopping centers.

The play place marks a departure from the food court concept at the shopping center. Two years ago, management determined to move in a different direction after having a difficult time keeping eateries along restaurant row.

At the time, Brooks said there was no sense in beating a dead horse as shoppers made it clear that they preferred restaurants in out-lot locations. A pizza parlor was one of the last restaurants to take up occupancy in the food court.

Jefferson Pointe – one of the largest shopping places in northeast Indiana – struck a deal with Tucanos Brazilian Grill to take up about half of the food court space.

Tucanos is a churrasco style restaurant, where grilled meats and pineapple are served tableside. Side dishes, salads and soups are available on the salad bar, and appetizers and desserts are also on the menu.

Diners pay for the churrasco experience, which is $22.95 for adults and $8.95 for children ages 7 to 12. Prices for lunch vary.

In 2012, Jefferson Pointe owner Institutional Mall Investors of Skokie, Ill., said it wanted to recreate the food court, which officials said didn’t necessarily mean more eateries.

Jefferson Pointe was founded in 2001 and is a more than $75 million facility. It has always had a steady stream of eateries come and go. Mall officials are hoping the play area and Tucanos will provide stability at the 15,000-square-foot location.

pwyche@jg.net

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