BOWLING BALL AND PINS (copy)

RALEIGH — Dozens of North Carolina bowling alleys closed since March can reopen provided they meet sanitizing and social distancing rules, a state judge ruled on Tuesday.

GREENSBORO — A developer hopes the city will give him a grant to renovate a vacant downtown building on South Elm Street that would house a restaurant, bar and bowling alley.

Double G Properties, owned by Greensboro developer Paul Talley, has already begun work on the project at 531 and 535 S. Elm St.

Called Bourbon Bowl, the project is eligible for an $80,000 urban development investment grant from the city. Talley plans to invest $3.7 million in the property, which will include a patio at the intersection of Lewis and South Elm streets.

“This was a hugely blighted property in a major corridor,” said Zack Matheny, president and CEO of Downtown Greensboro Inc., a nonprofit advocate for businesses in the center city.

The City Council has scheduled a special meeting for 3:30 p.m. Thursday to consider awarding a grant to the development.

Matheny said Talley has been talking with the city about the project since November 2019 and his goal is to have the renovation of the 10,0000-square-foot building complete by August.

When Bourbon Bowl can open, however, will depend on how well the state is weathering the coronavirus crisis.

A bowling alley in the heart of Greensboro is a plan that Matheny has been working on for nearly four years since a UNCG research project outlined what kinds of businesses would attract college students to downtown.

One of the findings was that a combined bar and bowling lanes would be such a magnet. The research was based on Stone Pin Company, a bowling-and-bar complex in Greenville, S.C.

And Talley, who owns Greensboro’s Limelight bar and Comedy Zone club, happened to be Stone Pin’s owner as well.

“The concept is a proven concept and the UNCG folks pinpointed it, which is really cool,” Matheny said. “I told the professor that I would take it seriously and it was nice to call her four years later and say, ‘It’s gonna happen.’”

Contact Richard M. Barron at 336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

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