Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
San Franciscan Doc Young bowls at Brentwood Bowl on a Thursday night.
South San Francisco is one step closer to opening a larger bowling alley at the location of the now vacant Century Theater at 410 Noor Ave.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday evening to approve the planning application for the expansion and relocation of Brentwood Bowl to a 39-lane bowling alley from its current 16-lane one. The new center is slated to include a billiards/arcade area, 1,000-square-foot bar, 3,565-square-foot restaurant and 1,540 square feet of office/retail space.
This deviates from the trend in recent years of bowling alley closures along the Peninsula — including Serra Bowl in Daly City, which shut its doors last year. King’s Bowl in Millbrae was also shut down more than a decade ago to make room for a housing development.
The vote was a triumph for Brentwood Bowl’s owner, Millard Tong, and its general manager of 34 years, Roy Vanotten.
“Brentwood Bowl has been part of South San Francisco since 1951,” Vanotten said at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting. “We have a past and I believe we have a wonderful future in South San Francisco. Generations of families have gone through the bowling center and they keep coming back. I would like to keep Brentwood Bowl an existing entity in South San Francisco.”
The commission approved the application with modified hours, changing the proposed applicant hours of operation from 6 a.m. to midnight. to 8 a.m. to midnight. This modification came from calls from a concerned police department.
Police Sgt. Scott Campbell said the changed hours had to do with making sure the police have maximum resources available.
Planning Commissioner Carlos Martin asked if they were thinking of bringing in more healthy options for food since bowling alleys have a reputation for greasy food.
“Try to take care and make this a beautiful place,” Martin said at the meeting. “Make sure the kids are safe.”
Tong assured Martin they have a chef who will be trying to do Asian fusion and other healthier options.
Planning Commissioner Mary Giusti brought up concerns about loitering and Tong said he plans to have more security, especially at night.
“I’m challenging you to get bowling alley there for next 100 years. I want you to succeed,” said Planning Commissioner Eugene Sim at the meeting. “Allow outside areas to have less loitering. You’re not just a box with a door that says come on in. Another reason of approaching it is beautiful restaurant ideas. Cut a slice of wall to see the beautiful venue of the restaurant. I don’t control the inside program at all, but I’m trying to make your project even better.”
The alley owners asked for the opportunity to come back in six months to engage the police department on hours of operation, as they want to push for the alley to open at 6 a.m. and the bar at 8 a.m.
The movie theater, located on the other side of El Camino Real from Brentwood Bowl’s current location, stopped operation in 2008 and has since been empty. The alley is owned by Syufy Enterprises.
Millard said he is aiming for the new alley to open in June or July of 2014.
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