New life for shuttered Hoffman Estates bowling, but without iconic look

 
 
Updated 9/24/2018 10:32 AM
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  • Hoffman Estates trustees like a plan to convert the former Hoffman Lanes bowling alley on Higgins Road into a multitenant strip mall, but aren't thrilled with a proposal to create a nostalgic look reflecting the building's past.

    Hoffman Estates trustees like a plan to convert the former Hoffman Lanes bowling alley on Higgins Road into a multitenant strip mall, but aren't thrilled with a proposal to create a nostalgic look reflecting the building's past. Courtesy of village of Hoffman Estates

  • Hoffman Lanes closed in July 2015, but the approximately 50-year-old bowling alley's iconic sign continued to greet motorists on Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates.

      Hoffman Lanes closed in July 2015, but the approximately 50-year-old bowling alley's iconic sign continued to greet motorists on Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer, 2016

Though happy with a plan to redevelop the former Hoffman Lanes bowling alley on Higgins Road into a strip center for stores and restaurants, Hoffman Estates officials are less open to the making its facade reminiscent of the local icon it once was.

Developers from W-T Properties Schaumburg I, LLC recently presented plans to convert the shuttered bowling alley at 80 W. Higgins Road into what they tentatively called the Hoffman Bowlero commercial center.

"The building is old, it's seen its days, but is memorable to a lot of people in the village," said Troy Triphahn, president and chief operating officer for the Hoffman Estates-based WT Group.

Opened in 1962, the building is approximately 32,000 square feet and sits on 2.7 acres. The bowling alley closed in July 2015.

The plan presented last week would turn it into an 11,272-square-foot strip center accompanied by a new, stand-alone 2,500-square-foot restaurant building with a drive-through.

Village trustees like the basic idea but showed little enthusiasm for evoking the spirit of Hoffman Lanes.

"It looks more like a circus tent than anything else," Trustee Gary Stanton said of the proposed design. "Personally, it doesn't do anything for me the way it looks."

"'Clown colors' were the words that jumped into my mind," Trustee Gary Pilafas agreed. "I think it's creative and cool, but I don't care about being nostalgic here."

"The idea's great, but to me those look like kites," Trustee Anna Newell added. "It doesn't even look like Hoffman Lanes."

Triphahn said he and his partners have no problem giving the center a more traditional look. Their plan would still preserve the basic structure, but they'll redesign the facade, he added.

Such a change is not expected to greatly alter their time frame to get the project permitted during the winter and break ground in the spring, Triphahn said.

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