Earlier this month, the Tilt arcade closed its doors. On Monday evening, employees worked to remove the last of the video games, redemption games, fixtures and equipment from the first-floor space.
The employees loaded all of the equipment on a tractor-trailer parked outside the old Sears building by around 9 p.m.
The Times News reached out to the parent company of Tilt and the owners of the Fort Henry Mall for comment. Neither one responded.
A picture of the empty arcade was posted to social media, which was shared more than 150 times in less than 24 hours. A number of people also commented on the arcade’s closure.
“What is there for the kids to do in this town anymore?? There are very few option for anything family oriented that doesn't cost an arm and a leg,” posted Amber Bryson.
Mike Hale posted “just like the Bristol Mall store by store floor by floor.”
Hunter Fields proclaimed “GOD SAVE THE PICCADILLY.”
An arcade has been in the Fort Henry Mall since the property opened on March 1, 1976. The original arcade, Gold Mine, was located near the theater in a space that has since been turned into a stairwell and home to a new elevator.
In the early 1990s, the arcade became Tilt. In the 2000s, it moved to its current location beside Belk’s in front of the stairs.
Nearly two years ago, Hull Property Group of Augusta, Ga., purchased the Fort Henry Mall for $5 million and announced plans to revitalize and renovate the 40-year-old property into more of a “fashion-type mall” catering to apparel tenants.
Last year, Kingsport approved an incentive for HPG to renovate the mall. The deal was for a $2.3 million incentive over an 11-year period in which HPG would invest a minimum of $4.6 million over the next five years.
The agreement calls for HPG to increase sales by at least 15 percent beginning in year two. Kingsport projected a potential six-year local sales tax increase of nearly $650,000.
Since last summer, HPG has done a number of improvements to the building: added new lighting throughout, new carpet on the second floor, and new signage. The first floor bathrooms are currently closed and under renovation. New carpet has yet to go in on the first floor.
NCG Cinemas completely renovated the old theater space and opened last July. Dunham’s Sports moved into the old Belk’s Home Store and opened last fall.