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Palace Bowling Lanes Getting New Spin as Mixed-Used Development

Modernization Plan Keeps Original Mix of Entertainment and Office
September 11, 2018
Architect Michael Hsu’s plans for Palace Bowling Lanes at 4191 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, calls for a revamped façade. Image credit: Triple Crown Investments.

The storied Palace Bowling Lanes will soon be redeveloped into Southside Commons, a mixed-use project that will preserve the leisurely sport and a Houston pastime at a location built in 1955.

Triple Crown Investments will modernize the two-story, 80,000-square-foot building at 4191 Bellaire Blvd. Plans call for bowling, entertainment, restaurant and retail space on the ground level with office and medical office space above.

"Out of all of the uses our team explored during the redevelopment process, the best, and not necessarily most economical, was to preserve the building and bring back family entertainment and other amenities that the community so desires," Triple Crown Investments Managing Partner John Morton said in announcing the project.

Acclaimed design architect Michael Hsu, known for his work on Heights Mercantile and Capitol Tower’s Understory, and architect of record at Tramonte + Johnson Architects, will revitalize the entire property from the inside all the way to its asphalt edges. The new frontage will contain a methodic mix of fiber-reinforced concrete panels, interlocking zinc tile, wood rainscreens and perforated metal sunshades. The existing terra cotta block on the rear and sides of the building will be revived with fresh coats of paint.

Arch-Con Construction broke ground Friday, removing and replacing the front façade.

Southside Commons will maintain its mixed-use heritage and include bowling in some capacity, with details forthcoming. The first floor will accommodate 10,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet of entertainment/restaurant space. The second floor will have 40,000 square feet of office space including medical.

"One of the challenges we had to overcome was that the original building’s second-floor office ceilings are too low for what today’s market demands," Arch-Con senior vice president Marc MacConnell said.

To address this concern, Arch-Con will remove the roof structure and replace the second-level columns with longer ones to add height to the space.

The project is 70 percent pre-leased, according to the developer, including a 30,000-square-foot lease to a yet-to-be named family entertainment center. No tenants were disclosed in the announcement, but previously Moody Rambin announced a 20,010-square-foot medical office with The Center for ENT at the project.

The Lillard family operated Palace Bowling Lanes for nearly 45 years before the selling the business in 2015. The lanes, which were briefly operated by a different company, have been closed since 2016.

Palace Bowling Lanes will avoid the fate of iconic Houston buildings that have been wiped away. Foley’s downtown department store, 1110 S. Main St., opened in 1947 and was demolished in 2013. Texas Medical Center’s Prudential Building, the first high-rise corporate office building outside downtown, opened in 1952 and was imploded in 2012. Rumors are swirling that the Kirby Mansion, one of the few historic estates still standing in the downtown area, is set to be torn down after being acquired by a car dealership group.

Kyle Hagerty, Houston Reporter  CoStar Group   
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