Family Fun Center seeks bowling alley
General Manager Darren Harmon said Wilsonville Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle's Restaurant will remain true to its namesake, but — with young adults starting families later and raising fewer kids — he believes catering solely to families is no longer a sound business strategy.
In turn, the goal of the Center's most recent project, which would add a 16-lane bowling alley and a bar to its array of attractions, is to cater to young adults.
"To keep this as just a family entertainment center (would) hurt us in the long run. We're moving to reel in the millennial crowd while still keeping the family atmosphere as well," Harmon told the Spokesman.
The City of Wilsonville Development Review Board approved the Center's renovation plans at a meeting Monday, Aug. 13. Following DRB approval, the plan began a 15-day appeal period. If no appeals are issued, the Center can move forward with the project.
Construction is pegged for this fall with the grand opening projected for 2019. Harmon said all attractions would be open during construction.
The renovation would add 16,000 square feet, remove all batting cages and reduce the size of the restaurant to make room for the alley, the bar, parking and stormwater facilities.
"It's going to be sad that those (the batting cages) aren't there because the popularity was pretty high but we need the land for the parking and the stormwater management that has to happen," Harmon said.
Along with attracting millennials, Harmon hopes the bowling alley would entice customers when the weather is inclement.
"Right now we max out the park in the 13 weeks of summer. By adding an indoor attraction and indoor building, that gives us the ability to spread our sales out throughout the year and get people to think about us when it's rainy and cloudy outside," Harmon said.
The renovation plans include a new entryway that leads to all aspects of the business. Currently, different entryways lead to the restaurant, snack bar and other services.
"It will be easier to understand where you need to go to purchase attractions, food, snacks, prizes because it's all going to be under one 300-foot-long counter," Harmon said. "You know what you're looking at when you come up to it."
The plan includes the addition of parking spaces and City staff said the projected four spaces per lane would be adequate. Though the alley is designed for recreational players and not bowling leagues, Senior Planner Daniel Pauly said the center could affect Wilsonville Lanes, the city's only bowling alley.
"I have heard from Wilsonville Lanes on this and they do have concerns, no doubt," he said at the DRB meeting.
Though DRB member Joann Linville voted to approve the plan, she raised concerns that if the bowling alley is more popular than expected, cars could flood into nearby parking lots and cause businesses costernation.
"With that in mind, the exterior and the plan I think are great. It's a really nice addition to the community," she said at the DRB meeting. "My only concern is there's no way to quantify what the number of parking spaces that would be necessary in this kind of a facility."
However, Pioneer Design Group consultant Ben Altman, who helped develop the plan, pointed out that many of the businesses nearby aren't open in the evening — when bowling is particularly popular. And Pauly said the alley would increase projected trip totals by just three during peak nighttime hours.
"So that's a minimal change and the traffic report doesn't anticipate that the added building will lead to congestion or violate any levels of service at any intersection throughout the city," Pauly said.
The Fun Center added a zipline a few years ago but attractions such as the bumper cars and miniature golf course have been available since the business opened in 1994.
"This is an industry where you need to adapt and change and offer new things," Pauly said. "They've done that over the years and this pattern continues."