Locals dreaming of bowling a strike at a Turlock bowling alley won’t have the opportunity to do so as the Ten Pin Fun Center project is officially, well, a gutterball.
The 52,000 square-foot family entertainment center that was slated to include a 34 lane bowling alley, a laser tag arena, arcade, and sports bar and grill was approved by the Turlock City Council in December of 2010, but nearly four years later and the property is still a dirt lot. According to property owner Ralph Ogden of Genesis Family Enterprises it may remain that way for a while.
“Everyone wanted the bowling alley including me and my family but we’ve been through a rough five to six years here with the downturn in the market and economy and I think that killed the Ten Pin project,” said Ogden.
While the Monte Vista Avenue property across from the college is now playing host to a Prime Shine Car Wash that is slated to open any day, a car wash was not originally intended for the property. With the Ten Pin Fun Center project delayed due to lack of financial backing in 2013 the City of Turlock Planning Commission agreed to change the restriction of the planned development site to allow the car wash to be built despite previous restrictions that mandated the anchor tenant, Ten Pin, be built first. Just as these restrictions dissolved so did the the developers’ option on the land and the bowling alley is “no longer being actively pursued” according to Jim Theis, one of the three original developers of the project.
“When we started proposing this project it was during the toughest economic times you could go through. In 2010 financing just wasn’t available for these types of projects,” said Theis. “Timing was everything, or rather late timing I guess.”
Ogden also pointed out that Turlock’s location could have played a role in lenders’ willingness to divulge the funds necessary to make Turlock’s bowling alley a reality.
“Turlock is a great community but it’s not a bigger metropolis and if that had been the case lenders might have been more inclined with loans of this magnitude,” Ogden speculated. “As much as we wanted this project lenders look at things differently.”
However, the vacant lot still stands a chance of being developed as something else as Ogden has received a call about the property though no official plans are on the table.
“There’s word going on behind the scenes,” said Ogden.