Bowlmor Lanes won’t reopen, to be demolished in winter

Nov 23, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Bowl no “mor.” 

After three years of trying to work out renovation plans to reopen, the owners of the Bowlmor Lanes building have decided to demolish the bowling alley on Route 6 this upcoming winter.

“We were trying to see if we could save what we have, but it’s not going to happen,” said Susan Penta, one of the owners of the building along with Michael Penta. The third co-owner, Angelo Paolini, passed away, but was involved in the decision before his passing.

The town condemned Bowlmor in February 2017 after seven of the eight beams that support the roof were damaged due to the weight of the snow on its roof from a rough winter. Tiles started falling from the ceiling due to the beams that were bowing outward. The bowling alley was closed shortly thereafter. Though the supports were installed to hold up five of the building’s trusses, the town still judged the building dangerous and unsafe.

“It really wasn’t doable” because of the structural damage, Penta said. 

But the decision to demolish the building, which was made this year, wasn’t made lightly.

The owners, who bought the building in 2003, had been trying to repair the building and restore it to its original state since the trusses were damaged in 2017. In 2018, the owners hired a construction company to look into renovating the building. But after engineer surveyors inspected the building, it was recommended that the safest option was to take it down.

“We’re disappointed that the building has to come down,” Penta said, adding that safety was a factor in the decision.

In the last two months, she received two calls from the town about kids breaking into the building, vandalizing the walls with graffiti and stealing items. The bowling alley shares a wall with Ying Dynasty, and Penta said that wall will need to be repainted once the building comes down. 

“It’s a disappointment to us that people would destroy property,” she said.

The bowling alley was open from 1945 to 2017 and was one of the few duckpin bowling alleys in all of Massachusetts. The building has been up for sale for a few years now. 

Though the building is coming down, the town is working to preserve parts of its legacy. 

The Mattapoisett Museum is working with the owners to hold onto certain items like a bowling ball, a pin or a pair of shoes to display in Town Hall or in other parts of town. 

“We’re more than happy to donate whatever it may be before we tear it down,” Penta said.

As for demolition, Penta met with town safety officials on Nov. 23 to go over planning for the demolition. Formal plans have not been submitted yet.

Originally projected for a December demolition, the town, Penta and Costello Demolition (the company in charge of the dismantling) agreed that it would be better to push the start date back into January.

The company is also looking to start on a Monday because students aren’t in the building at nearby Center School, so traffic won’t be an issue on that day. 

Building Inspector Andy Bobola said that the adjacent Ying Dynasty will most likely be closed on the first day of demolition as a safety precaution. 

As for concerns of nearby residents, Hal Monsini, a representative from Costello, said that the dust coming from the demolition won’t be an issue thanks to the humidifiers that the company uses. The asbestos has been removed from the building already and a pest control check will be done to ensure that none will spread to the nearby homes and communities after the demolition.

The last time officials did a walkthrough inside the building, Bobola said that besides the vandalism, the interior looks like everything was left in place.