DeVargas Center bowling alley plans spring opening

DeVargas Center, bowling alley, Amusement News, AmusementRC, arcadeHardly a day goes by at the DeVargas Center that someone doesn’t call or stop by to ask when the sounds of bowling balls colliding with pins will be heard again in Santa Fe, folks at the mall’s administration office say.

The delayed opening of the planned Alley Lanes & Lounge is still months away, owner Joey Padilla said recently. “We are going to be open by spring,” he said. “There is no doubt about that.”

In announcing their plans for the new business in March, Padilla and wife Hannah, who grew up in Northern New Mexico, said they expected to be open in late summer. But work on remodeling spaces formerly occupied by Traveler’s Market and Longevity! Strength Training and Fitness got pushed back three months because the revamping DeVargas Center had a lot of other projects going at the same time, Padilla said.

The bowling complex also will have a restaurant and bar as well as other amusements, including bocce ball courts, pool tables, shuffleboard and arcade games.

The Padillas, who have young children, have worked for more than a year on their project and looked at a number of vacant spaces before choosing the north-side mall for their new venture.

It will be Santa Fe’s first bowling alley since Silva Lanes on Rufina Circle closed in 2009. That property sat idle for years until author George R.R. Martin bought it for Meow Wolf to redevelop as its House of Eternal Return immersive art exhibit.

A long-running effort to open a bowling alley and brew pub in the Santa Fe Railyard’s Market Station building officially died last year when a federal bankruptcy judge gave a property manager permission to sell unused bowling equipment and materials that had been installed on the building’s upper level.

Demolition work for the 20,200-square-foot project on the DeVargas Center’s west side started in August, said Katy Fitzgerald, senior project manager for the center.

“I know everyone is excited,” Fitzgerald said. “The city has been very open arms about it. We have had parents call and see it they can book parties. … People ask, ‘How is that bowling alley coming along?’ ”

The mall managers had to get the required permits, put in a new fire suppression system and make sure things meet code requirements, Fitzgerald said. We provide “a nice clean storefront … and they [the business owners] come in and do everything else.”

The Padillas signed a lease with Fidelis Realty Partners, the Texas-based real estate firm that owns the DeVargas Center.

Demolition is being completed and restrooms are being installed.

“Our scope of work is about to start,” Padilla said. He said he will soon pick a New Mexico contractor for the job, which he expects will take three to four months to complete.

Back Road Pizza will expand from its current location at 1807 Second St. to a second location inside the bowling alley with a commercial kitchen and a bar, Padilla said.

The Padillas, who own and operate Santa Fe Tails, a dog day care, training and boarding facility, expect their bowling operation to fill a niche for all ages, locals and tourists alike.

“What we are looking for is for people to have an experience,” Joey Padilla said. “When you come to our bowling alley, we want you to feel you are well taken care of.”

They want to create a atmosphere where you can “actually have a conversation and hear the other person and not leave with a headache,” he said. “We want this to be very inviting.”

Padilla said he expects to employ at least 20 to 30 full-time and part-time employees.

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican

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