One downtown New Bedford business is expanding with some new upgrades.

Play Arcade is currently the newest tenant to the first floor of 28 Union Street which had been abandoned for quite some time. This expansion alone is a total game-changer (pun intended) for Play, and arcade owners Adam and Lauren Katz are the brains behind the project.

"It was a partial necessity and partial chance," Katz said. "An opportunity derived after jokingly asking my landlord Brian Marder if he ever wanted to rent out the first floor, and it turns out that the space was available as well."

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Marder, who owns Marder Trawling Inc. in New Bedford, had other bids and people eyeballing the vacant location. Katz put in their offer, hands were shaken and coming soon this year, the doors to the new Play room will be open to the public.

"He (Marder) really wanted to see us succeed and has been so supportive through all of this project," Katz said. "So many people have been behind us since day one and I honestly couldn't be more blessed. We knew in our minds it was going to be difficult to afford, but we needed to find a way to get it done, and here we are. It was a risk-reward situation that we know will be worth it in the end."

This will be the third room added to the nostalgic '80s and '90s-themed arcade that also features the work of local artists. Mark Carvalho and Fitzcarmel LaMarre are both local art teachers who created the existing art in the men's and women's restrooms at Play and will also play a key role in bringing back those heyday memories with more personalized paintings of video games, movie icons, and fictional characters.

"We're bringing in more artists from the area to add their custom work to the walls," Katz said. "We're finishing up the life-safety stuff now and as well as the overall design."

As for what to expect, Katz will be installing a "fun" living room set-up where people can hang out and watch classic movies on what he's calling "super-comfy" chairs and couches.

"There's going to be a lot more room and seating, especially for private parties, that will be much more cost-effective," Katz said. "We've already established a sit-down to eat/family fun atmosphere. Now we want to make it bigger so that there's more room for everyone."

As a bonus, an additional 15-20 games will debut once the renovation is complete, the paint is dry, and any kinks are worked out.

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