Attraction-minded Janss mall attracts new tenant

Once the economy reopens fully, Janss Marketplace has positioned itself to be the entertainment capital of Thousand Oaks. The mall, already home to Regal Cinemas, Dave & Busters, Defy Ariel Sports trampoline park (formerly Dojo Boom) and a number of restaurants, is set to welcome The Mighty Axe, which touts itself as an ax-throwing and ales venue that will also offer virtual reality games, including a VR escape room.

Like the movie theater, Dave & Busters and Defy, the new business is classified as a recreational/ entertainment venue, and to operate in the commercially designated space it requires a special-use permit, which the city’s planning commission approved with a 5-0 vote Monday.

“Ax-throwing is catching on in popularity throughout the nation,” applicant Ryan Bradley said at the Sept. 21 meeting, adding there are roughly 30 ax-throwing venues between the San Fernando Valley and San Diego.

“ This is one concept we wanted to open in Thousand Oaks mainly for the reason of bringing fun, alternative entertainment options to Thousand Oaks and make it family friendly, where kids can come do virtual reality, kids over 12 can throw axes and families and friends can get together.”

The first question the commissioners had regarded safety and city law.

“ We’re talking about sharp-bladed objects flying around and alcohol, and I just wanted to know if we have anything in our city ordinances covering allowing people to operate dangerous weapons while consuming beverages for entertainment,” Commissioner Nelson Buss said, directing his comment to Assistant City Attorney Patrick Hehir.

Hehir replied that while state penal code and city codes address having weapons of any kind in public, there’s nothing regarding weapons of this sort in a commercial-recreational type setting.

The Mighty Axe will fill a 3,200-square-foot space formerly home to a salon and beauty supply shop and will feature six 230-square-foot bays to throw hatchets at giant wooden targets. Those bays, each containing two targets, would be fenced off and separate from the bar area—which would serve beer only—and another section for virtual reality games.

Each group of hatchet throwers will be assigned a staff member, dubbed “axe-perts,” to demonstrate the activity and go over safety protocols.

Hatchets not in use will remain locked away, and no outside axes will be permitted.

No alcohol consumption will be allowed in the ax-throwing areas.

Though the establishment will serve beer, that’s not the hoped-for focus of the venue, Bradley said.

“Being a father and a community member in the Conejo Valley, I don’t want this to evolve into something that is based on alcohol and drinking beer,” he said. “I want this to be a social gathering place where people can have fun, corporations can have corporate events, families can get together for birthday parties or friends can get together for birthday parties.”

While food would not be served inside the business, visitors would be able to bring in meals from any of the mall’s restaurants. The Mighty Axe will sit in the space between Crazy King Kong Sushi and Lucky’s Dog House.

NewMark Merrill, which owns the marketplace, said in a letter of support for the new business that Mighty Axe would not only benefit the restaurants at the mall by attracting more guests but would be a bonus for the city in general.

The nearest venue offering hatchet throwing is in Simi Valley (Lazertag Axtreme).

The commissioners sharing opinions before voting said they welcome more entertainment options in the city.

“I think this is a complemental use to this area with Dave & Busters and the cinema there,” Commissioner Kevin Kohan said before moving to approve the permit. “It’s a unique opportunity, and I think it brings a unique experience to this area.”

Commissioner Don Lanson gave credit to the project for its creativity.

“ In my younger years I worked in Westwood Village, and this is the kind of thing that I think would be a fabulous kind of concept back then in terms of creating energy, excitement and opportunities,” he said, adding, “I just hope you’re able to open it soon considering everything that’s going on (regarding COVID).”

From Thousand Oaks Acorn. Click here for the full article.