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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 16, 2010

Waialae Bowl plan given more time

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A representative from a chain of bowling alleys in Minnesota said he is determined to move forward with plans to renovate and reopen the old Waialae Bowl, which has been closed for more than two years.

Adam Apo, a Kaimukī High School graduate who manages one of five Colonial Lanes centers in Minnesota, made that declaration yesterday before the Honolulu Liquor Commission.

Apo had been asked by the commission to explain why no work has been done on the 50-year-old bowling alley since he and Waialae Bowl Inc., a company formed by Colonial Lanes owners Michael and Matthew Anderson, were granted a liquor license in September 2008.

Waialae Bowl Inc. sought the liquor permit because it was one of the requirements of securing a lease with landlord Kamehameha Schools. But a year later, the bowling alley remained closed.

Apo told the commission last October that Waialae Bowl Inc. was close to securing a lease and he needed six months to complete a deal. The commission granted the company an extension, but the license remained unclaimed.

Apo returned to Honolulu and told the commissioners yesterday that he was "really close" to reaching an agreement with Kamehameha Schools. He said there were communication problems between his bosses and the landlord, but Apo said he believes those issues can be worked out.

He said architectural plans have been completed for the renovation and he believed he needed an additional three months to secure a lease.

Commissioner Iris Okawa cautioned Apo that he could face more hurdles that would further delay the project. She suggested that the commission grant Apo another six months to sign a lease.

"It could drag on," Okawa said.

The commissioners warned Apo that this would be the final time they would grant his company an extension.

After the hearing, Apo said he hoped Kamehameha Schools will work with Waialae Bowl Inc. to reach an agreement. But he also said he was worried that Kamehameha Schools has other plans for the property.

Once a lease is secured, Apo said it would take a few months to renovate the facility. The cost is estimated at more than $1 million.

"A lot of work needs to be done, but we're willing to do it," Apo said. "We're not going to get rich off this project, but the one thing I want to do is bring bowling back."

In the past 60 years, nearly 30 bowling alleys in Hawai'i have shut down. Only three public bowling alleys remain on O'ahu.