The children and young adults lined up outside the doors of the "Steam Punk H20" laser-tag arena Jan. 28 ranged in age from 12 to 20 and eagerly awaited their next run through the black-light-illuminated, two-floor obstacle course.
"The terrain is fun and there are a lot of places where you can leap out and do lot of damage," Harrison Barker, 17, a senior at Hilliard Davidson High School, said about the nooks and crannies in which players can hide and ambush an unsuspecting opponent.
Barker was at Ten Pin Alley, 5499 Ten Pin Alley, with other members of a youth group at Harvest Assembly of God in Galloway to check out the newly expanded and remodeled entertainment facility, which reopened Jan. 23.
The-laser tag arena is just one of the new features after owner Sarah Purdy invested more than $5 million to double the facility's size and add amenities.
The project was years in the making, Purdy said, but most of the work was completed in the past six months while it was closed.
"We are thrilled to be open again," she said.
Purdy bought the bowling alley at 5499 Constitution in 2006, immediately rebranding it Ten Pin Alley; the bowling alley had been at the site since about 1960 and operated under other names, including Northwest Lanes and Sunset Lanes.
Last year, in conjunction with the remodeling project, Hilliard City Council approved a 12-year, 50 percent property-tax abatement and renamed Constitution Boulevard as Ten Pin Alley.
The value of the tax deal is $1.26 million, Hilliard economic-development director David Meadows said last month, but the value of the property was estimated to increase by $5.4 million and 25 jobs were expected to be created.
Purdy said last week she has 40 new employees.
Prior to the expansion to 37,000 square feet, Ten Pin Alley was 14,600 square feet and had a 16-lane alley with a small game room and a kitchen.
The original 16-lane alley has been improved and upgraded with state-of-the-art pin-setters, touch-screen scoring and new seating.
A new eight-lane alley, known "Brooklyn Side," features its own bar and gathering area, said Andy Beougher, marketing director for Ten Pin Alley.
The facility also showcases an arcade, two 60-foot bocce-ball courts, a new patio and kitchen and the two-story laser tag arena.
"We kept a few of our popular menu items but most of our menu is new, and it's all made on-site from scratch," Purdy said.
The kitchen includes an open oven in which patrons can watch handmade pizza being prepared and cooked.
"The restaurant will be a destination on its own with unique appetizers and sandwiches ... and created from scratch with locally sourced ingredients," said general manager Sean Rogers.
Purdy said the remodeled facility is the epitome of the "boutique-bowling" concept she envisioned and began when she purchased the bowling alley 12 years ago.
The Hilliard market is well-situated to support such a facility, she said, with families and businesses to patronize it.
Among the patrons enjoying the facility last week were employees from an OhioHealth orthopedic practice.
It was a postponed Christmas gathering, said LaDeema Gallagher, and she and co-workers were enjoying lane-side service.
"We were here last year, too. Bowling is always fun but we're excited to try the laser tag, too," Gallagher said.
Providing improved amenities for both corporate and private gatherings was a focus of the renovation, Beougher said.
The bowling alley always has been a destination for office parties and birthday parties, but "with the added space, we will be able to offer more options to our guests," he said.
Ten Pin Alley also will give back to the community, Purdy said, and will do so by returning 2 percent of total sales in 2018 to one of three charities: the Hilliard Community Assistance Council food pantry, Action for Children and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio.
Patrons will choose their favorite charity to support and different charities will be considered next year, Purdy said.
Ten Pin Alley is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays. It offers daily promotions at tenpinalley.com.