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Bowling project officials still seek funding

Developers eye new location in Maalaea

Developers of a proposed bowling alley are eyeing a new location in Maalaea as they continue to seek funding to back the longtime dream of former Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares.

The Maui Lanes and Family Fun Center, which will cost about $10 million to $15 million, is proposed for a two-story, 30,000-square foot structure in the Maalaea Triangle next door to the Maui Ocean Center.

Vacated buildings in Kahului that were once home to Kmart, Safeway, Sports Authority and Lowe’s were also considered, but Maui Lanes project coordinator Norman Franco said earlier this week that they will go with the Maalaea property if funding is secured.

The first floor would have a 30-lane bowling alley with an additional area for video games, Franco said. The second floor would potentially include a restaurant, sports bar and banquet rooms.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthy and safety protocols will be implemented into operations, including physical distancing standards, mask requirements and sanitizing high-touch points.

The project may also pursue a nightclub on a penthouse floor of the building “in order to have a venue on Maui where entertainers booked on Oahu would consider coming to Maui also,” Franco said.

Tavares, who has long wanted to bring family-friendly bowling activities to the community, could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday, but Franco said that she is working on finishing the business plan by March 15 to begin seeking investors — someone who can offer $5 million to get the ball rolling.

The building is projected to cost about $10 million and an estimated $2 million to install the 30 bowling lanes.

“If we lease the land from the owner of the property, it will cost us another $2 million upfront,” Franco said. “Then we need working capital of at least $1 million to make sure we can pay the people we need to help us to run the bowling alley, video games, restaurant and sports bar and maybe the upscale nightclub, but I think we would just have the professional entertainer and his group of investors lease that part of the project from us.”

He noted that many individuals and groups have been donating time and expertise to see the project through.

Franco said that anyone interested in being an investor in the Maui Lanes project should contact him at normanfranco@hotmail.com.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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