Chuck E. Cheese closes location in Lima

LIMA – Lima does not have a place “where a child can be a child”.

Chuck E. Cheese permanently closed its Lima location as part of the voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the Southern District of Texas by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the parent company, CEC Entertainment.

The company submitted a list of 45 current leases it plans to reject, including the location at 2809 Elida Road. Other Ohio locations scheduled for lockdown include a location on Macsway Avenue in Columbus and on the Richland Mall in Mansfield, according to court documents.

The teams worked on Friday to dismantle and remove furniture and games from inside the building in Lima. They declined to comment. A company spokeswoman did not answer a call on Friday afternoon.

“After evaluating a number of factors, the debtors concluded that the underperforming sites do not meet the performance criteria necessary to rationalize their continued operation,” according to a presentation in the case.

The business was an ideal destination for parents and children, with a combination of classic games like Skee-Ball and basketball, as well as pizzas, wings and salads. Visitors to the Lima location often saw a disguised version of the company’s mascot, Chuck E. Cheese.

The company acknowledged Wednesday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy “to overcome the financial strain resulting from prolonged closings of premises related to COVID-19,” according to a press release. The company has 555 company-owned stores and 186 franchised locations.

Lima’s location turned into take-out orders for their pizzas and wings when dinners and game rooms closed in person at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chuck E. Cheese opened in Lima in May 2009, where it previously housed the New York Carpet World and buffet restaurants. Originally it was a franchise owned by Ed Dixon and Dan Wilkinson, the former prominent soccer player from Ohio State University and the Cincinnati Bengals. His Buckeye Entertainment LLC purchased the property for $ 650,000 in 2008.

In March 2018, Buckeye Entertainment sold the property for $ 1.2 million to Niki Lima LP, a boutique real estate investment firm based in San Diego, California. There were four new HVAC units installed in the building in July 2018, according to their Facebook page.

In December, the property was sold for $ 2,236 million to the Benito Trust and its managers, Keith and Nancy Ross, of Palos Verdes Estates, California.

The Lima News readers voted Chuck E. Cheese the best place to hold a children’s party in the best of the region in 2019, 2018, 2015, 2014, 2013.

Read the proposed order to reject unexpired leases.

Chuck E. Cheese’s mascot visits a birthday party in the town of Lima last July. The Lima entertainment venue closed as part of the parent company’s response to COVID-19.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.