Santa Fe couple unveils plans for bowling alley, other games in DeVargas Center
If you’ve been on (10) pins and needles, waiting for bowling to make its return to Santa Fe, relief is on the way.
A new, 20,000-square-foot bowling alley, complete with a dozen lanes plus a variety of other entertainment options, is planned to open in late summer at the DeVargas Center mall, and its owners say The Alley Lanes & Lounge will offer an old-school, yet updated experience that’s badly needed in Santa Fe.
Joey and Hannah Padilla, a husband-and-wife team who grew up in Northern New Mexico and have fond memories of going bowling as kids, said their new business will cater to families who want to have a great time without having to travel to Albuquerque’s big-box entertainment centers or to nearby casinos to roll a few strikes, spares and, yes, gutter balls.
The Padillas own and manage Santa Fe Tails, a dog day care, training and boarding facility. Joey Padilla said he thought initially about creating an indoor trampoline park but instead decided on opening a bowling alley — one that also will feature two indoor bocce ball courts, billiards, darts and an arcade — “a retro arcade,” he said, “not one of those that’s modern and loud.”
The city hasn’t had a bowling alley since 2009, when Silva Lanes closed. That space on Rufina Circle has since become the home of Meow Wolf’s uber-successful House of Eternal Return, while casino complexes have filled the bowling void. A yearslong effort to open a brew pub and bowling alley at the Market Station building in the Santa Fe Railyard never materialized.
The wait appears to have ended. The Alley Lanes will be located on the west side of the mall complex, accessible from both the parking lot and inside the mall. The current tenants of the space, Longevity! Strength Training and Fitness and Traveler’s Market, will be moving to different locations in the next several weeks before construction begins, said Katy Fitzgerald, senior project manager at the DeVargas Center.
Joey Padilla said he and his wife have signed a lease with Fidelis Realty Partners, DeVargas’ ownership company.
Hannah Padilla said she and her husband, parents of kids ages 7 and 8, have been working on the project for nearly a year and looked at a variety of empty spaces before settling on the DeVargas Center.
“Being natives, we know that location is key,” she said. “People in Santa Fe complain about a 10-minute commute. We could’ve looked at the south side of town, but location is key — downtown, hotels, being close to Española and Los Alamos.”
There was a time, the Padillas noted, when finding a bowling alley on mall property was tougher than executing a 7-10 split. But that was then. Now, with the change in 21st-century culture and entertainment options, it’s a different landscape.
“Malls are starting to hurt, and bowling alleys are more upscale,” he noted.
Fitzgerald agreed the template has indeed been transformed, and “it’s something we’ve had to work through. How it was in the ’80s and early ’90s was different, and quite frankly, owners were not excited about [bowling alleys]. But in today’s world, entertainment uses are huge [for malls]. … They bring in the right kind of traffic, a good demographic.”
The Padillas said they’ll have simple food offerings — salads, sandwiches, pizza — and are in the process of purchasing a liquor license. But the key to the business, they added, will be their customers bowling or playing bocce ball or taking a shot at pinball (for those born after 1990, YouTube it).
US Bowling Corp. will supply the lanes, equipment and design for the facility.
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican