Sears

The former Sears store at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester could become home for Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dave & Buster’s, according to city officials.

MANCHESTER — Dick’s Sporting Goods and perhaps a Dave & Buster’s restaurant are expected to find a home at the vacated Sears store at the Mall of New Hampshire.

Mayor Joyce Craig announced the development at a recent Ward 8 meeting.

“I think it’s really a good thing that we have tenants going into Sears, because that could have been sitting vacant for an awful long time, so I think that says a lot for the viability of that mall,” Craig told Ward 8 residents at the Barnes & Noble store across South Willow Street from the mall.

She named the two retailers and said two or three more businesses were planned as the Sears store gets carved up.

But others were more cautious on the prospects of the restaurant chain that features food and games popular with adults and children.

Pamela Goucher, the city’s deputy director of planning and zoning, explained the planned renovations.

“They are going to demolish the auto repair portion of the Sears building and provide a little more parking/loading in this general area,” Goucher said. “They are moving forward with a lease with Dick’s Sporting Goods for approximately half of the Sears building; and they have tentatively identified Dave and Buster’s as a potential tenant in some of the remaining Sears building.”

Dave & Busters, which operates in 39 states, has plans to open in other vacant Sears, including one at the Natick Mall in Massachusetts.

An official at Seritage, which owns many Sears properties including those shuttered in Manchester, Salem and Newington, said no lease deal is signed for the Manchester location.

Mall spokeswoman Elyse Phelan said “the Sears space as an unprecedented opportunity for us to make the mall even more appealing for our shoppers.”

She declined to share plans for Sears and said more new stores at the mall will be announced next year. Neither Dick’s Sporting Goods nor Dave & Buster’s could be reached for comment.

Ward 8 Alderman John Cataldo, who attended the meeting, said he has been invited to a meeting in a few weeks with people working on redeveloping the Sears space.

“It doesn’t make sense to have empty storefronts,” said Cataldo, who likes the “more dynamic interesting opportunity.”

Before Sears filed for bankruptcy this year, Dick’s Sporting Goods had leased a portion of the Sears store at the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem.

Meanwhile, two businesses are taking over space in the Mall of New Hampshire once occupied by A.C. Moore.

BurgerIM, a specialty burger chain, is slated to open before year’s end there. In October, Xfinity opened a retail store and customer service center.

“As our offerings evolve and expand, we want to bring our customers a retail experience which showcases the power and innovation of our Xfinity products and demonstrates how they work together,” said Steve Driscoll, vice president of sales and marketing for Comcast’s greater Boston region.

“Our store employees have a passion for technology, provide great service and work on-on-one with each customer,” he said. “Plus, in many stores like Manchester, we also have multilingual employees to better serve that community.”

Tilly’s, a retailer selling action sports clothing, backpacks and shoes, opened in mid-October in part of the former Gap store. Forever 21 filled the rest of the Gap space, Phelan said.

mcousineau@unionleader.com