T I O N Building Alaska
Serving Anchorage’s Inner Child
Alaska’s only Dave
& Buster’s nearly
By Vanessa Orr
Construction is almost finished on the new Dave & Buster’s at the Dimond Center in Anchorage, and people are
getting excited about its March opening. The
first entertainment complex of its kind in
the state, it not only took the vision from the
mall’s owners but the cooperation of the Alaska Legislature and the efforts of a lot of skilled
craftsmen to bring this project to fruition.
“Alaska has been so opening and welcoming to us; it’s overwhelming how many people helped us pull this off,” says Oso Adams,
general manager of the Anchorage Dave &
Buster’s, which will be one of the company’s
largest facilities in the country.
Embracing the Vision
About five years ago, Hugh Ashlock, partner
and second generation owner of Dimond
Center, attended a shopping center conference where he watched Dave & Buster’s CEO
Stephen M. King unveil a prototype of a new
“What I saw was a sports bar on steroids
with a great restaurant, lots of private dining,
and more experiential retail—it was a wonderful transformation of the Dave & Buster’s
concept,” says Ashlock.
Visiting Dallas the next day, Ashlock
toured the prototype and expressed interest
in bringing it to the 49th state. Roughly seven
months later, the company started looking at
expanding into Alaska, but there were challenges that first needed to be overcome.
“We had to get the law changed in respect
to gaming for prizes,” says Ashlock. “While
games of skill, like skee-ball, were no prob-
lem, any type of game that involved chance,
like a Spin to Win, was considered gambling
and was therefore illegal.”
Senate Bill 157, an act defining arcade-
style amusement devices that was introduced
by Senator Lesil McGuire, passed unani-
mously by the Alaska Senate and House and
was signed by Governor Bill Walker, paving
the way for construction on the new Dave &
Buster’s to begin. But the project’s challenges
didn’t stop there.
“We had to figure out how to shoehorn a
50,000–square-foot addition into our shopping center,” says Ashlock. “So we decided to
raise 25,000 square feet of roof on our second
floor to create the arcade and midway.”
Raising the Roof
While architects, engineers, and construction companies are used to dealing with the
unique issues that working in Alaska presents, it’s not often that they get involved in
actually raising the roof of a mall.
A rendering of the south entrance to Dave & Buster’s, which plans to open this month at the Dimond Mall in Anchorage.