From the Seattle PI website today:
Sunset Bowl, a staple of the Seattle bowling community for more than 50 years, has been sold and will shut down in mid-April, the alley's manager said Friday. Manager Verl Lowry said that although roughly 2,000 bowlers pass through the doors of the Ballard business each week, "the land is exceeding the value of the business, I guess." King County Recorder's Office records show that the company was sold to Avalon Ballard LLC for $13.2 million. Lowry -- who has worked at Sunset Bowl for the last 31 years -- said all 50 of the alley's employees would lose their jobs when the alley closes. The news follows the closure of Sunset's other bowling alley, Leilani Lanes, which was sold in 2005 to a developer for $6.2 million.
For the record, I love old bowling alleys. Leilani Lanes hosted my birthday right before it was ripped down, I spent dozens of days bowling there and nights drinking and watching my friends make fools out of themselves doing karaoke. Same goes for the Sunset Bowl in Ballard. I actually have stopped by or met friends there not just to bowl, but to grab a beer in the bar, or play pull tabs, or play pinball... they were the first place in town to have the new Family Guy pinball table (which rules, by the way). I used to bowl at the U-Village lanes, often next to the guys from Soundgarden, it was ripped down years ago. Bell Lanes on the Eastside, where I actually saw The Young Fresh Fellows play once in highschool, was ripped down long ago to make way for business towers. So what's left? I think just the West Seattle Bowl... where the Mansplat zine dudes totally dominated the Tablet staff when he had a bowl off 5 or 6 years ago. I guess it's time to check that place out before they knock it down and build condos there too. I understand bowling alleys and their parking lots take up a huge amount of space and land around Seatown is getting more and more expensive. It's just really an end of an era when there are no more bowling alleys left, as well as another Seattle icon disappears.
Apparently Avalon is a national public company that builds big apartment complexes and really hasn't been doing that well in recent years (their stock has tanked). Sweet, they will rip down the Sunset Bowl, and spend years building some crappy over-priced apartments... and hopefully not go bankrupt in the process.
I'm getting super bummed out... I've lived in Seattle for going on 16 years. All the character is going to the wayside... I can't afford a condo, and if I could I wouldn't want to live in one... soul-less.. I'm turning my frustration to my music - that's the only one good thing about the destruction of everything unique about seattle - angst ridden inspiration..... like I needed any more inspiration... some change is not good... this is definitely one of them.... BUMMER>..........
I'm with ya. I think other large cities have managed to grow more gracefully and retain some of the original character that makes them unique. Specifically I'm thinking of San Francisco, in which people painstakingly restore old buildings. Sure they make them into modern flats, condos and apartments, but they keep the original architecture rather than ripping everything down and building something new like we seem to do here. And Vancouver BC has built tons of new condos and apartments for downtown living, but mandated high percentages to developers for lower income housing as well as family housing, in an effort to keep things diverse. When you think of all the landmarks that in part make Seattle what it is, half are gone or on their way out.... The Kingdome, the old big Rainer R when you drive to town, the bowling alleys, Twin Teepees, etc. Clark Humphrey put out a great book called Vanishing Seattle on this very subject. I know some people just dismiss it as progress, but I tend to believe you can have progress and still retain the things that make a city fun and unique.
Sunset Bowl RIP. I was on a league there for a while, "Plan 9". We sucked but it was about the ambiance, the greasy food, the beer, the karaoke, and the staff. Really going to miss that place.
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