Lucky Strike Lanes rolls a gutter ball at Pittsburgh Mills mall

| Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006

After Sunday, shoppers no longer will be able to bowl, eat and drink at Lucky Strike Lanes at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills.

But sometime later, they will be able pray at a church that has signed on as a tenant at the giant complex in Frazer.

Lucky Strike -- a combination bowling alley and restaurant/lounge -- on Sunday will conduct its final day of business at Pittsburgh Mills, officials said Friday.

A yet un-named Methodist church recently signed a lease at another location within 1.1 million square foot complex, said General Manager David Macdonald. The church will be located adjacent to the Corningware, Corelle, Revere Factory store at the mall.

"I think it's a relatively new idea for churches to go into storefronts, but it will be a standing church," Macdonald said.

"Because we are having much more success with downtown urban locations than suburban shopping malls, we decided to concentrate on urban locations," said William Scheidhaur, chief operating officer of Sherman Oak, Calif.-based Lucky Strike Lanes LLC. The company operates 13 locations, and plans to open three or four sites a year, he said.

Scheidhaur said customer traffic at Pittsburgh Mills did not meet the company's expectations. The site has employed about 45 people, he said.

The closing is the second major setback for entertainment-oriented elements of the giant Pittsburgh Mills complex, which was billed as a "destination" center above and beyond that of a traditional regional shopping mall.

In February, it was disclosed that NASCAR SpeedPark, one of the much anticipated anchors for the $285 million complex, would not open.

Macdonald said Pittsburgh Mills management will aggressively seek other tenants for Lucky Strike's 25,000-square-foot site, and continue efforts to lease the site never occupied by NASCAR SpeedPark.

Meanwhile, he said retailers, such as Brooks Brothers 346, a mid-priced professional and casual clothing store for men and women, continue to open, and development for retailers continues there, particularly at outparcel locations.

An example is The Village at Pittsburgh Mills, a 170,000-square-foot retail center being developed by minority Pittsburgh Mills owner Zamias Services Inc. of Johnstown and James Brumbaugh, a private investor from Fox Chapel.

Construction started this month and a spring 2007 opening is planned for the first phase of the complex, which is to include Best Buy and PetSmart outlets. A second phase is to include Ross Dress for Less, Michael's Crafts, and a free-standing Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar outlet.

At Pittsburgh Mills yesterday, Butler resident Mary Schmidt, accompanied by her friend Debbie Desch, of Butler, said she thinks it is a shame that Lucky Strikes was closing.

"I think it would be a draw," Schmidt said. "It just seems such a shame to move out."

"It was something different," Desch said.

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