Auctioning the Alley

Once it’s sold off piece by piece, future unsure for Oakland Plaza Lanes
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:02 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Steve Spaur remembers multiple instances when he caught drunken college students attempting to steal the bowling ball and pin signs off the side of Oakland Plaza Lanes.

Those pranksters will finally have the opportunity to get those signs by legal means today. The signs will be part of an auction at the bowling alley at 2116 Vandiver Drive.

Oakland Plaza Lanes closed July 31 after 30 years of business. Owner Jim Goldammer said he was not looking to sell the facility but decided to after Prime Management made him an offer he could not refuse.

“Bowling centers are not sold every day, and when a good offer comes around, it’s pretty hard to turn it down,” Goldammer said.

The auction, scheduled to start at 10 a.m., will also include bowling balls, pins, wooden benches and the lanes’ lighting and sound systems. Spaur, general manager of lanes, joked that the auctioneer will sell everything that isn’t bolted down and even some things that are, like the bowling lanes.

Spaur said he has been selling pieces of the alley’s lanes since last Friday. They have been custom cut so that people can use them to make bars or countertops. Spaur said one woman bought a piece of a lane to use for a shuffleboard table.

To prepare for the sale, staff removed more than 10,000 screws from Oakland Plaza’s 24 lanes — 425 per lane. The work took three men more than four days, Spaur said.

Phil Lomonte of Kansas City, who is removing the lanes, said he cut a 23-foot piece of a lane for one customer, but that was the longest measurement anyone has wanted.

“People come in and just want a piece of history, a foot or two,” Lomonte said.

Some of the orders are even more specific. Spaur said some bowlers have ordered sections of certain lanes where they bowled their first perfect game or the lane number from where they went on their first date with their spouse.

The lanes that are still available will be put up for auction. Everything in the building must be sold and removed by the end of the month, Spaur said.

The future of the building is uncertain, but Prime Management vice president Matt Jarrett said his company is not interested in operating a bowling alley. The company is looking for a tenant for the building, but there is also a possibility that the structure will be sold or redeveloped, Jarrett said.

Jarrett said his company has a lot of options available for the building because of its size and location. He said some furniture stores have inquired about the building.

“It’s a 30,000-square-foot facility,” he said. “The options are wide open.”

Spaur said he has heard some rumors regarding what will become of the former bowling alley.

“One of the best rumors was that Bass Pro Shop was going to buy it and put an indoor bass lake in it,” he said. “They could have our cocktail waitresses serve us drinks while we fish.”

Jarrett dispelled that rumor, saying there are no plans to incorporate the facility with the building of the outdoor supply store.

Spaur said that after all is said and done, he will miss the family atmosphere of the bowling alley the most. He will leave behind a lot of memories, he said.

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