Madison Partners a Little "Surprised" By Opposition to Greenville Ave. Bowling Alley

Categories: Development
bowling alley-3.JPG
Click to embiggen Madison Partners and Brooke Humphries's vision for a bowling alley next door to Good Records.
Late Tuesday I got an email from Jonathon Hetzel of Madison Partners, which is trying to roll out that bowling alley on Lowest Greenville that once more goes in front of the City Plan Commission tomorrow. He noted the myriad comments accompanying yesterday's item and said perhaps he could lend some ... perspective.

So we spoke at day's end at great length -- not only about that project, but the planned food-truck court scheduled to open early next year on the site where once stood the Arcadia. Said Hetzel, with the bowling alley at one end, next to Good Records, and the food court at the other, and with the under-construction street improvements in between, "Lowest Greenville will be nicer than it's ever been."

But first, he has to get the bowling alley pushed through the CPC, and he expects that'll happen tomorrow -- despite opposition from neighborhood groups unhappy, they say, with the parking limitations and plans for a rooftop patio. Hetzel said was "surprised there was the level of opposition" at the CPC meeting earlier this month, mostly, he said, "because we've had neighborhood association meetings about the project," and those issues "never came up."

Said Hetzel, "A lot of their arguments are specious, to be honest. They constantly claim there's a parking deficit. We have parking that's 100 percent to code, and they sit 100 percent empty on a Saturday night. They're where I park, in the lots on Lewis. We have 165 parking spaces that will be used exclusively -- 80 percent on Lewis, within a block of the building. Anybody that doesn't believe me, drive down Lewis at midnight on a Saturday and look at the lot."

JonHetzel.jpg
Photo by Patrick Michels
Jon Hetzel, in the tie, on Lower Greenville last year introducing the concept of the food-truck court on the old Arcadia site
As far as the bar component: "Bowling alleys have bars," he said, adding that Madison Partners -- and Barcadia's Brooke Humphries, who came up with the concept for the bowling alley -- "are happy to deal with the neighbors on the rooftop patio issue."

He said that the joint will "be similar to what Lucky Strike is in Fort Worth. It'll have a significant bar element, but it's a well-capitalized, known and respected operator, and it'll be dramatically better than what it was in the past. Splitting up the building doesn't magically make the building smaller. This space is 12,500 square feet, and with this bowling alley, the six lanes, that will suck up a major portion of the space. It may not be as much as the neighbors like, but it's better than three, four bars or restaurants going in there. And it's a fun concept. During the day it'll be very family-friendly with kids' parties available at cheaper rates, similar to how Lucky Strike is."

He said hours of operation haven't currently been set, but it'll more than likely open as early as 10 a.m., especially on weekends, to allow for family visits. But late at night, sure, it'll get all grown-up.

Hetzel says Humphries approached Madison Partners about the concept a year ago -- and that she, like Madison Partners, was in favor of the Planned Development District that Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano pushed for and got in order to clean out the so-called "bad bars" they said were responsible for high crime in the area, especially during weekend nights. The PD requires businesses that want to stay open after midnight get specific use permits, which is what the bowling alley's looking for.

"The goal was to get rid of the bad operators," Hetzel says, "not to keep viable operators from opening up. And it's frustrating, because between us and the operator [Humphries] we're spending $1 million to $1.5 million. This isn't going to be some bubblegum and Band-Aid operation where someone spends $50,000 just to open a bar."

Far as he can tell, those opposed to the concept would be opposed to any new bar on that stretch of Greenville Avenue. Which echoes a sentiment oft-heard since the PD went into effect -- that there just has to be a way to get more daylight-hours retail on Greenville to accompany the likes of Good Records.

"But that's not economically realistic," Hetzel said. Because, sure, "there's more room for daytime retail than currently exists, but we have to make it nicer before they come in. And part of that involves taking buildings like the one where we're putting in the bowling alley and putting a nice new vibrant business instead of having a crummy vacant building."

At which point he mentioned a "major national grocer" that looked at the building and passed -- because, for one, the parking's "too remote, and nobody likes to walk a block to go shopping. Parking makes retail a non-starter. Good Records can operate as a retail store because they have that one little parking lot, which isn't enough to service another 1,500 square feet of retail no matter how much we cut up the building. Just look across the street. There's plenty of retail space there, and it's been vacant for five years -- and it's brand new!"

He said he's "cautiously optimistic" about the plan commission giving the bowling alley its SUP tomorrow. And he said that food court's a few months from opening too: "We have a lease out with our lead three tenants, all using the same attorney, and we'll negotiate that and then give it to everyone else. There are some complicated legal issues, since nobody's done it before, but we hope to start construction in the next two months." He said that'll open early next year. By which point there may be a bowling alley down the street. We'll see tomorrow.

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50 comments
Roscoejett
Roscoejett

It's been an entertainment district for over 30 years. Plenty of kids and families have been in the area for decades and were not corrupted. One of the top elementary schools in Texas serves part of the area. Another elementary is exemplary and the other recognized.

Howard
Howard

As with all things, it is easier to talk up a dream than it is to fund it.

matt
matt

bring it to oak cliff.  we would love it.  leave the bitchy east dallasites to their BBB

hi
hi

what ever happened to the rumored bowling alley in deep ellum...aside from global economic meltdown?

Noah W. Bailey
Noah W. Bailey

I think you guys are missing the most important question:

How much will it cost to bowl a game?

Or am I gonna have to buy a bottle of Grey -Goose-or-some-such-shit to roll ten frames?

engmofo
engmofo

Well unless things have changed a whole lot since I lived over there , the reason that no- one uses the lots on Lewis is because they are like a small scale "Pick'n Pull". If your car wasn't broken into over there you obviously had a shitty stereo.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

I wonder what the neighborhood associations have to say about this.

Sports Cactus
Sports Cactus

SPOILER: Lower Greenville homeowners oppose everything that isn't a Chick-fil-A or a Bed, Bath and Beyond.

rsfred
rsfred

I am a longtime neighborhood resident and I would welcome this concept.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Wow, people on lowest greenville griping and complaning about progress? Should I be shocked?

I have three words for all the people who spent 300-400K to live behind bar/restaurants: Suck It Up. Quit being a bunch of G-D spolied crybabies and take into account that this is an ENTERTAINMENT district, so grow a pair. If you want peace and quite, you can always move to Richardson/Plano or Cedar Hill, you might be happier there. I look at it like this: Its a win-win for everyone because this makes room for people who actually will contribute to the neighborhood by pumping money into local business.

Jd
Jd

Its a shame that part of greenville is so dead.

Oh Really
Oh Really

Am not opposed  to it but as a nearby resident, I was disappointed in the size. There are so many families in the neighborhood who would love to have a real bowling alley that serves up beer and cocktails to Mom and Dad or that the teens could go to. Dallas is not accommodating to it's teen population, middle class or otherwise. There is nothing except shopping and movies for teens in Dallas. No wonder we have a problem with child obesity.

No Pimples On My Ass
No Pimples On My Ass

Quote: Far as he can tell, those opposed to the concept would be opposed to any new bar on that stretch of Greenville Avenue. Which echoes a sentiment oft-heard since the PD went into effect -- that there just has to be a way to get more daylight-hours retail on Greenville to accompany the likes of Good Records.

"But that's not economically realistic," Hetzel said. Because, sure, "there's more room for daytime retail than currently exists, but we have to make it nicer before they come in. And part of that involves taking buildings like the one where we're putting in the bowling alley and putting a nice new vibrant business instead of having a crummy vacant building." EndQuote

Of course it's not economically realistic - when you have a choice between $15,000 per month in rent plus a piece of the sales profit from a bar, versus $5,000 per month for a mom-and-pop operation (which is still a ripoff), which do you think they will choose?

They don't want mom-and-pop since there's no money to be made from the rent, the parking and the sales profits. The idea of daytime retail was a smokescreen to cover the pimples (more like huge zits) on the ass-end of the SUP proposal.

Coleman
Coleman

Hope it works out for them...it'd be nice to have a bowling alley in Dallas proper.

G_David
G_David

A bowling alley right here in River City?  Thats sounds like trouble with a capital T.

rumpunch
rumpunch

The question I have, is the SUP tied to the building or the tenant?  I have heard both ways.

cp
cp

You call that a bowling alley? Daniel Plainview had a better set-up than that....

Old Fart
Old Fart

There is no such thing as an Entertainment District in Dallas zoning. The area got the name from the bar owners who had to justify $15,000 per month rents.

Until the rezoning last year, the area was zoned community retail, which means small businesses for the neighborhood (and the neighborhood did not include Plano residents).

The first big bar influx was only about 15 years ago, when the property owners begged for tenants, and the City did not care what moved in.

Only after the residents started fighting back (buying streets for parking) and calling in every noise issue did things start getting nasty.

The SUP is not the best idea, but the only compromise that got through. Now the property owners are trying to sneak in all the bars again, while crying they can't get daytime retail.

This will be fun to watch.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Bowling For Dollars and/or Cash For Candlepins needs to come back!!! Bring in Terry Dorsey and John Rags for play by play...Hell, bring back Celebrity Bowling in syndication as well!!

Coleman
Coleman

If it's anything like the Highball in Austin, it would be around 25 bucks for an hour.

Vicki
Vicki

It's there in the article--they oppose it.  "...despite opposition from neighborhood groups unhappy, they say, with the parking limitations and plans for a rooftop patio."

Montemalone
Montemalone

What about the taco stand at the corner of Ross?

Coleman
Coleman

to be fair, Chick-Fil-A makes for great drunk food.

anonymous1
anonymous1

The concept is what they HOPE you welcome.  But ask yourself why they need to be open between midnight and 2am.  Ask yourself why there's more bar area and dance club area than bowling alley area.  Is it really for bowling?  And do you want your children having to go past to gigantic bars (with drunken revelers) just to get to the bathrooms? 

Truth Hurts
Truth Hurts

Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Danger, but that stretch of Greenville Ave. is NOT, i repeat, NOT, zoned for "entertainment".  In fact, all bars operate illegally in that area BECAUSE it is NOT zoned for entertainment.  This is way all the bars "pretend" they are restaurants, because it is zoned for commercial business which includes restaurants but does NOT include bars.

Check your zoning facts next time you make these outrageous statements. 

eastdallasgirl
eastdallasgirl

Remember when we had Tango across the street?  Plenty of dancing, but no place to park. Valets had a lot of trouble with the neighborhood - and that was back in the 1980's.   Why not a 2 story parking lot behind the bowling alley?

jj
jj

I agree.  It would be nice if they would commit to a regularly scheduled "family night" or "teen night."

Gravyfoot
Gravyfoot

Nothing fights obesity like 10 frames of bowling.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Like anyone has a blemish free ass for long.

eastdallasgirl
eastdallasgirl

It's tied to the parking issue.  And the beef jerky counter.

Zander
Zander

It's tied to the dirt.  Not building, not owner, not tenant.  Like herpes, only louder.

rumpunch
rumpunch

As a resident of the area, I see that most outside visitors to the area look at the area on a broader scale.  What I mean is, they include lowest greenville with lower greenville. They are very different.  The vibe around Blue Goose and Terrelli's is a lot different.  Outsiders go to Blue Goose and criticize the people on Richmond, Oram and Prospect 10 blocks south for complaining.  I for one would love my part of Greenville to be like that part.  A few shops, a bank, some restaurants and a few good bars would be ideal.

We moved to area for nightlife, we don't want to move to the suburbs and eat at Applebee's.  We do want a well controlled neighborhood partner to serve us.  It is our neighborhood and we should be the primary beneficiaries.  We welcome the well behaved outsiders to fill the excess capacity to keep the neighborhood vibrant.

Fools Game
Fools Game

Are you implying that Madison Partners is not being truthful? 

I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!

Yes, that is the new dance in town.  Go before the CPC and ask for something that sounds good, then when nobody's looking, change the venue to a dancehall/bar.  That is the way it's always done on Lowest Greenville.

scottindallas
scottindallas

The people who've lived in this neighborhood dating back to the pre-entertainment district don't speak much English, and I don't think they read this blog.  Your property values aren't hurt by the bars, rather, they are enhanced by it.  It gets weary hearing all the harping and carping about the activities.  You moved in cause you liked the entertainment district, or you're a fool.  Sell, you should be able to get a good price and move elsewhere.

Sports Cactus
Sports Cactus

I ask myself: What kind of parent would locate their family in an Entertainment District?

Coleman
Coleman

Sounds like there needs to be a change in zoning then, because if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Again truth hurts: Suck It Up and Grow A Pair. People like you are the reason Dallas cant have anything nice, who prefer the "one step foward, two steps back" approach to building a neighborhood. I love how the "neighbors" sit here and complain when they know what exactly they moved into. Heck, my inlaws live over on belmont and they're well aware of the weekend traffic and noise, which doesnt bother them, because they know greenville is a busy entertainment area on weeknights and weekends.

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

Bowl-er-cize!

Get me another one of them *errr* "energy drinks" next time you hit the bar, eh?

Gary
Gary

You're forgetting about the snack bar.

rumpunch
rumpunch

That is my greatest fear.  I like the idea of the bowling alley and welcome them with open arms.  My issue is the SUP, as it is a lot to ask the neighborhood to commit to 5 years, when this may not be the business in place in the location during the entire term.

Therefore, it appears that it is the SUP process which is flawed.  It should be tied to the certificate of occupancy.  Therefore, if the business use changes, the SUP is void.  Therefore, I feel that my frustration is more with the City than with Madison Partners.

Coleman
Coleman

"outsiders?" You're in a major metropolitan city, dude.

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

So they "ARE" in fact cooking something, then?

Close enough to call themselves restaurants, I guess.

Coleman
Coleman

ew, who would want to go through all the trouble of getting that old people smell out of your house?

I'm 65, too.
I'm 65, too.

Hooray!  You said it!

And, Scott in Dallas needs to check his facts, because the area is NOT zoned Entertainment.  The bars would like you to think it is.  They know they cannot operate a bar there, so they "pretend" they're a restaurant.  In fact, they must cook their books to show they have more sales receipts for stuff other than alcohol, just to comply. 

City looks the other way because they get tax dollars.

Old Fart
Old Fart

I am 65 years old and use the internet without my glasses on.

I have lived here 40 years.

When I moved here this building was a department store.

What entertainment district are you talking about?

Call me after this gets built, you can buy my house, punk.

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