Bowling alley pins hopes on Polaris market
Columbus' first new lanes in decades slated to open in March in old Circuit City building
Star Lanes Polaris, an entertainment venue featuring bowling, dining, billiards and arcade games, will take over the former Circuit City building at 8655 Lyra Drive.
The 35,000-square-foot facility, on the eastern edge of the Polaris Fashion Place complex, is expected to open in March.
Mike Mechling has partnered with his sons, Jeff and Doug, on the project, under the name Polaris Entertainment Partners LLC. They have contracted with Lucky Strike Entertainment, which runs 22 boutique bowling alleys in the United States and Canada, and will be responsible for day-to-day operations at Star Lanes. The Mechlings will pay a licensing fee for the use of the Lucky Strike brand.
Star Lanes will offer 20 lanes in two areas of the building: 14 lanes on the main concourse and another six in a VIP section.
The Point at Star Lanes, a lounge and bar, will serve "high-quality, scratch-made items" such as burgers, tacos, sliders, salads and fresh-cut fries, Doug Mechling said. The lounge will have a full liquor license.
In addition, a separate 3,400-square-foot arcade is planned.
Doug Mechling said the Polaris area wasn't their first choice, but they warmed to the prominent location, right off Interstate 71.
"We are the gateway into that area," he said.
A bowling alley hasn't built in the city of Columbus for 30 years, he said.
"This is a market that's prime for this," he said. "Bowling is a very social sport, and we're looking to capture that social bowler."
Franz Geiger, managing partner of NP Ltd., which owns the vacant Circuit City property, said the building has been vacant for three years.
Geiger said he likes Star Lanes because it adds an entertainment option to the cluster of retail uses in the area.
"When you have the critical mass we have at Polaris, you try to promote new and interesting concepts to people who might not necessarily come to Polaris," Geiger said, "and it complements existing uses."