Kenai sells bowling alley

After 11 months of receiving offers and holding negotiations, the Kenai City Council has sold the former AlaskaLanes Bowling Alley, a closed business located on the Kenai Spur Highway near the Three Bears grocery store, to Dean You for $450,000.

You is the registered owner of the Anchorage-based PacRim Commercial Consulting, according to state business license records. The bowling alley sale was authorized in a prior ordinance in Sept. 2016, which stated that Kenai administrators believed “it is the intent of the purchaser (You) to reopen at least part of the structure as a bowling alley.” You could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The city council approved the sale Wednesday with one opposing vote from council member Mike Boyle, a longtime opponent of selling commercially useful city land, preferring to lease it. Council member Bob Molloy was absent.

“I’m very supportive of this project, but I have a personal philosophy against selling prime city land, which I believe this is,” Boyle said. “Therefore a ‘no’ vote from me does not mean I don’t support this project and what these people are trying to do.”

The bowling alley opened in 1983 as a privately-owned business built on city-owned land, for which its owners paid an annual lease to the city. The most recent owner was Ken Liedes, who in fall 2015 went out of business and defaulted on his lease payments, which were then $27,000 per year.

Kenai acquired the bowling alley building in a settlement of Liedes’ unpaid leases, and in February 2016 began trying to sell or lease it again, releasing a request for proposals that month.

When the request closed in April 2016, it had brought two proposals. The Kenai Bible Church sought to move into the bowling alley because its present building sits on the eroding Kenai bluff. The other was from four Kenai residents who had formed the company Strike City 907 in order to continue operating a bowling alley in the facility. Both were rejected, and two subsequent offers were received in August 2016.

The Kenai council initially authorized the sale to You at its Sept. 21, 2016 meeting, seeking a price not less than $525,000. Though that ordinance passed unanimously, with Boyle and Molloy absent, the sale was not yet closed. At the council’s Oct. 5 meeting, Kenai City Scott Bloom reported that You hadn’t come up with payment for the property and was negotiating for additional time. In the meantime, Bloom said, the city could consider other offers.

Negotiations over the sale continued through three closed-door executive sessions in subsequent meetings before Wednesday’s approval of the sale. At least one competing offer was made for the bowling alley during this time, considered in an executive session at the council’s Jan. 4 meeting.

The text of Wednesday’s enacted sale resolution states that You had made the highest of the current offers for the bowling alley. You bought the building and the 1.87 acre property below it for $450,000 — consisting of a $20,000 initial payment, with the rest to be given in monthly installments with .75 percent interest.

A March 2016 appraisal by McSwain Associates values the property, including land and the 19,656 square-foot bowling alley building, at $800,000. The land alone was appraised at $450,000. The appraisal report also estimates the 33-year-old building requires between $50,000 to $100,000 worth of repairs to its roof, floor and heating system. The sale ordinance states that excluding the building from the property’s price “is supported by an opinion of the appraiser retained by the City.”

Proceeds from the sale will be deposited in a fund dedicated to supporting the Kenai Municipal Airport, as required by the 1963 deed whereby Kenai acquired approximately 2,000 acres — a decommissioned military airfield that includes the land now occupied by the bowling alley — from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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