Princess Lanes caters to leagues, families in updated facility
Members of the Thursday-afternoon bowling league sprawled out on the edgy, tan couches and beige barrel seats.
The hardwood floors and flat-screen televisions replaced the once-prominent '80s flare that featured plastic chairs and vinyl flooring.
“It's fantastic. It makes a world of difference,” said John Mazzarini, 74, of Whitehall, who has been bowling in a league at Princess Lanes in Caste Village Shoppes for about 12 years. “The old look was dingy looking. It wasn't vibrant and light like it is now. It's much more modern.”
The bowling alley, which opened in Caste Village in 1961 with 24 lanes and expanded in the late 1960s to 44 lanes, recently underwent its first major remodeling project in years. Nearly everything but the bowling lanes were overhauled, and a party room was added to accommodate families and turn the area into a family center.
“We put a new face on the place to make it more comfortable, more modern, but we kept all of the conveniences that the league members have grown accustomed to,” marketing manager Kelly Joyce said.
Just months after the closure of Village Lanes, one of the first duckpin bowling alleys in the area that later was converted to tenpin, Princess Lanes — also owned by members of the Caste family — underwent a large remodeling project.
“It's kind of evolved with the times,” said one of the owners, Earl Danielson, whose grandfather, Felix Caste, built the shopping center in the 1950s. “This is just another way we're adapting, keeping up with the times.”
A restaurant was added in front of Princess Lanes by 1980, Danielson said.
“It's really grown so much from the olden days. ... We want to be able to accommodate the families in larger groups,” Joyce said.
That was a large part of the reason behind the remodeling.
An arcade area was added for youngsters to enjoy their evenings racing cars or playing air hockey. But in the afternoon, even Grandma and Grandpa hover over the machines enjoying a game.
Lockers and high-top tables, though, were left in the bowling alley to give longtime league members their much-needed staples, general manager Jeffrey Harrison said.
“They stand, and they do their 50/50 raffles and play their card games, and they put their food back here,” Harrison said of the high-top tables.
The remodeling likely cost between $400,000 and $500,000 and included the addition of hardwood flooring, carpeting, new paint, furniture and other amenities, Harrison said.
The remodeling completion coincides with the fourth anniversary of the opening of Prior's Tap and Tavern, a sports bar that moved into the restaurant location in front of the bowling alley.
The party room next to the bowling alley will have a window overlooking the lanes to accommodate larger groups.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.