Bowling alley planned for Portland's Bayside neighborhood

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— A bowling league that began a few years ago at Yankee Lanes on Riverside Street has become so popular that a league founder plans to turn a Bayside building into a 10-pin bowling center.

Bowl Portland, a partnership between Portland resident and former state Rep. Charlie Mitchell and State Sen. Justin Alfond, submitted an application to the city Sept. 1 requesting permission to renovate the building at 58 Alder St.

The building is the longtime home of Skillful Vending, but that business is under new ownership and is reportedly moving to another location in Bayside.

Mitchell said the Bayside location is ideal for a bowling alley. He said many of the Bowl Portland league members live on the peninsula.

“It’s a great location,” Mitchell said. “People will be able to walk to bowling.”

In the past couple of years, the league has grown from 12 teams to 26 teams with 26 different sponsors. They bring a disc jockey in to play music at Yankee Lanes on league night.

“We were kind of surprised at the demand for bowling,” Mitchell said.

The Alder Street building is owned by former Skillful owner Ross Furman. Bowl Portland would lease the property.

Alfond said the bowling alley, and its restaurant and music entertainment will bring thousands of people to Bayside each week.

Bowl Portland wants to install 12 lanes for bowling in the building’s warehouse, and a bar, lounge, restaurant and stage in the front, two-story portion of the building.

Mitchell said the plan is to have live music a few nights a week, along with DJ nights. The restaurant will serve pub-style food. Mitchell said he and Alfond both spent time in New Orleans when they were younger, and were fascinated by Mid-City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl, a bowling alley/club in that city.

The project, which also includes adding eight parking spaces and six spots for bikes on Hanover Street, is projected to cost $900,000. According to Alfond, the design team for the project is looking into sustainable elements, including solar heating and cooling, Energy Star appliances, bike racks and locally produced beer.

Bowl Portland goes is scheduled to go before the Planning Board Sept. 22 for a workshop. The developers said they hope to open the business next March.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or