Asbury Lanes first opened in the 1960s as an 18-lane bowling alley. But it also gained traction as a concert venue. It was shuttered in October 2015 for renovations.
The venue’s original capacity of 300 will more than double in the newly renovated space, iStar said. Its first opening act will be announced this spring.
It is also developing the nearby 1101 Ocean Avenue project, which you can see in the video above, a luxury high-rise.
David Bowd, of Salt Hotels, who will operate the venue, said the project has special meaning to the city.
“Everyone has an Asbury Lanes story,” Bowd said in a press release. “Emotions ran higher with this project than with anything we’ve undertaken. What mattered to them matters to us: keeping the soul of this incredible venue while making changes necessary to guarantee its future.”
iStar said the building was in need of repair. Under the wood floors concrete had been laid without foundations and only sand anchored the structure. The roof also needed replacement.
Among the new features will be a diner located inside the building and a custom built pin-setting system.
The building’s famous bowling-pin sign will be reinstalled after being restored, and its original logo will receive what iStar called “a modern twist” on the newly white washed exterior brick walls.
iStar did not disclose the cost of the renovation work.
From the APP Archive: The Asbury Lanes is landmark in Asbury Park. We visited the uber-cool hot spot during the monthly Gay Bowling Night Doug Hood
The revamped Asbury Lanes, located on Fourth Avenue near the beach, will come with new features, including a “secret passage” between the business and The Asbury Hotel, another iStar development.
“We want to amplify what’s already here,” said Brian Cheripka, senior vice president of iStar. “We have an opportunity to capture Asbury Park’s incredible sense of place through the properties we are developing and although it involved a much greater investment than building a new building, we chose to restore as much of the original building as we could.”
Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy coalition, said the group will host it’s annual Equality Ball at the venue. “Our Equality Ball will be their first large scale event in the space. As a local to Asbury Park, I understand the unique history (Asbury Lanes) has played to our great city and I know The Asbury and iStar have been working hard to keep those values at the forefront,” Fuscarino said.
The unveiling of the new renderings stirred strong reactions on social media.
“I love it,” Carlos Truax commented on the Asbury Park Press Facebook page. But Stephanie Blackmore said, “This isn’t Asbury Lanes. Old one had this retro charm to it but this? This is just something that looks like everything else now?”
Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sylvia Sylvia-Cioffi said she was excited by the new design. “It looks like I am about to learn how to bowl,” Sylvia-Cioffi said. “The thought of going there again and going bowling and watching bands play again, really it gives me a little bit of a spark here.”