A lease agreement has been signed between Trefoil Properties and local investment group PMC Entertainment, the future owners and operators of the tenative King Pinz Family Entertainment Center.
During Wednesday night's Economic Development Committee report at the borough council work session, councilwoman Mary Fuller announced that Lansdale will once again have its own bowling alley.
"This news is so hot, it's going to burn your fingers," she said. "It is with great pleasure that the Economic Development Committee, along with the Office of Community Development, announces that Trefoil has signed a lease agreement with an investment group who plans on operating a bowling alley and family fun center at Hillcrest Shopping Center."
Fuller said plans call for doors to open as soon as December.
"We will assure them and you that the Office of Community Development will certainly be on hand to aid this group through the process so they have a successful and timely opening," Fuller said. "I know we are all, in this community, anxious to see this project get underway and open successfully."
After the council meeting, Fuller said the investment group informed the borough of the agreement and gave approval to say a lease agreement has been signed with Trefoil.
"We're excited about it. This is a popular topic. We just had extensive discussion at the last town hall meeting about it," Fuller said.
"This is probably one of the two things the community most often asks for, besides movie theater," Fuller said. "Because Lansdale used to have two (bowling alleys) and now has zero, we’re a good fit. The closest alley is not far, but it's not like having one in your hometown."
Fuller said the borough will look into if the company qualifies for the electric incentive program.
"That depends on how much money they put into renovating whatever piece of property they use and the number of employees they hire," Fuller said. "I would imagine with a project this size, in all likelihood, they would qualify."
Trefoil Properties is the lessor of the shopping center, according to Trefoil senior vice president Betty Wrigley.
"We are more than delighted to have a family entertaiment center coming. I have seen sketch plans and photos of smiliar operations and it will be one of most exciting things to hit Lansdale in years. It is phenomenal," Wrigley said.
In addition to bowling, the center is proposed to have private party rooms, private bowling lanes and party area for adults to have a VIP experience and an arcade area for youth.
"There will be a bar. The owners are intending to purchase a liquor license," Wrigley said. "There will be a restaurant too. It should be a really fun experience."
She said the center - which has the preliminary name of King Pinz - will be something different from anything that is in a 10-mile radius.
"It will be an awesome draw for Lansdale and with the town's whole change of pace," Wrigley said. "It represents a significant investment in the updating and ugpradng of real estate."
She said the owners will put money into upgrading the interior and facelifting the front of the center.
There will be an expansion into the neighboring vacant space formerly occupied by Clemens Dry Cleaners.
"They are going to use every effort to work with the borough to get permits and construction going in order to be operational for the holidays," Wrigley said. "The sooner, the better for all of us."
PMC Entertainment has been involved with this project since 2010.
"We’ve been working with these guys for a while," said Lansdale Mayor Andy Szekely Wednesday night. "They had come to an Economic Development Committee meeting a year-and-a-half ago, then had gone through some machinations, and slowly kept in touch with them and slowly brought them back into Lansdale."
PMC Entertainment said the group has met with Szekely and community development director John Ernst over the last two years.
The group has also held many design meetings and conversations with a Lansdale architect and a Lansdale general contractor regarding the construction and design of the facility.
"We'd also like to thank Trefoil Properties, who have been extremely patient with us over these last two years. The combination of all of these people are making it possible for us to bring a state of the art 35,000-square-foot entertainment center to Lansdale," PMC Entertaiment said in a statement.
In a PhillyBurbs article from March 2011, Lansdale Mayor Andy Szekley said the owners "envision a center similar to Lucky Strike, an upscale bowling alley and lounge chain with a number of locations in the region."
Szekely announced plans for a $3 million project at that economic development committee meeting in March 2011.
At that time, plans for the project included several bowling lanes, a restaurant and a bar complete with big screen televisions in the 34,000-square-foot space.
In its press statement, PMC Entertainment said the following:
We will bring a refreshing look to Hillcrest Shopping Center. We look forward to bringing jobs to Lansdale and to contribute to the on going economic development of the town. We are bringing to Lansdale a place for families to enjoy together.
Consumers in Lansdale do not have a lot of entertainment choices for their family. They in turn are substituting food as entertainment. People in Lansdale deserve more than that. King Pinz will allow its guests to dine and play within the same destination. Come for the value; stay for the fun.
There is a King Pinz Luxury Lanes and Sports Grill and Cigar Bar in Leesburg, VA. There is no relation with the proposed King Pinz in Lansdale.
The announcement comes five years after the fiery demise of Lans-Bowl, located a stone's throw away from Hillcrest Shopping Center.
"It's not just about the demise of Lans-Bowl," Wrigley said. "It's nice, family entertainment for an area that does not have a lot of that sort of thing to offer. Yes, you can go down to Plymouth Meeting, but that's a haul. Especially for the Montgomeryville area, that's a long trip."
Wrigley anticipates the draw to come from as far away as Quakertown.
"It's an easy trip down 309. There's a wide radius to pull from," she said. "Once they get the reputation out there, it's all for the good of Lansdale."
As far as the shopping plaza itself, Trefoil does plan to upgrade the entire shopping center in the not too distant future.
Wrigley said they do have prospects to fill the spaces left vacant by Aaron's and Radio Shack.
There is 2,400 square feet of property available for lease. The broker is Metro Commercial and it can be reached at 610-260-2676.