Wrecking ball to silence bowling pins at landmark Leilani Lanes
Seattle Times staff reporter
Send your favorite memoriesabout Leilani Lanes to reporter Erik Lacitis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another Seattle icon — the Leilani Lanes bowling alley in Greenwood, with palm trees on the entrance awning and its beloved Lani Kai Lounge — is going the way of an apartment development.
The Seattle landmark opened in 1961.
The property, at 10201 Greenwood Ave. N., was sold this week for $6.25 million to Michael R. Mastro, a big player in developing properties. He said he plans to put in 363 apartments and 62,000 square feet of commercial development.
Mastro was born and raised in Seattle, graduating from Cleveland High School in 1943, and said he understood the mixed feelings about razing Leilani Lanes. The bowling alley will be open for business until March.
"In newspapers, you say, 'That's progress,' " Mastro said.
Mastro also acquired an adjoining property, Volvo Auto Repair All, for $2.2 million. That gives him more than two acres, nearly the entire block.
Leilani Lanes has been owned by the same private corporation — which has 28 shareholders, many family-related — that owns Sunset Bowl in Ballard.
Jack Leary, president of Sunset Bowling and Recreation, said there are no plans to sell Sunset Bowl.
As for Leilani Lanes, he said, "The land just got too valuable." He said he hoped bowling leagues at Leilani would find a home at Sunset Bowl.
Leary said he knows there are many with good memories of Leilani.
"Things change, you know?' he said. "One of my guys liked to eat at Twin Tepees [the Indian-motif Aurora Avenue North restaurant demolished in 2001 after a fire]. I'm just thinking about all the things that have changed. I don't know, it's something to think about."
Among those already mourning Leilani Lanes is Eric Langsted, of Everett, who worked the bowling alley's front desk for a decade in the 1990s and now is an office administrator. He still bowls at Leilani every Thursday.
He said, "Seattle is no longer a blue-collar town. It's Microsoft and Internet and all those things. Leilani was the 'Cheers' of bowling. Everybody knew everybody.
"Every night the house was full. I apologize; I can't put it into words. This is the place where I met my wife and most of my friends today. It's so unbelievable this place won't be there. It's just sad."
Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237 or email@example.com
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