Local group looks to improve East Main Plaza through multi-million dollar renovation project

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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The East Main Plaza in Albemarle, which includes the Spare Time Lanes & Lounge bowling alley, is in the process of getting a major facelift.

Power Property Management Inc., which is comprised of Latisha Chester, Natalie Baghalzadeh and Sigis Owl, bought the property in June 2022 for $1 million.

The partners, who are from Concord and Charlotte, were looking for space for another business in the city when they saw the vacant bowling alley on East Main Street and were quickly intrigued.

“We saw Albemarle is a small town and we saw there’s not much to do here,” Baghalzadeh said. “We saw the potential to get the community involved and get the bowling alley back up.”

Initially focused on just purchasing the bowling alley, as the group talked with the realtor it decided to purchase the whole property.

“It was a purchase that made sense,” Chester said.

The vacant Spare Time Lanes & Lounge bowling alley is being renovated by a local group to include a sports bar and a kids arcade.

The group created a GoFundMe account in late April to raise money for the necessary renovations. With a goal of $50,000, the group has already raised roughly $4,000.

While they don’t yet have a clear figure, the total cost of the renovations should cost several millions of dollars, Chester and Baghalzadeh said.

“We have a desire of equipping the community with resources that would be beneficial to its growth and development and to provide small business owners with newly renovated, and affordable commercial space to lease for their businesses,” according to the GoFundMe account.

The bowling alley, which has been vacant for years, will be turned into Trophy’s Lanes & Lounge, which will feature 12 bowling lanes along with a sports bar and a kids arcade on the first floor — ideal for young families and Pfeiffer students at Albemarle’s downtown campus.

Trophy’s Lanes & Lounge will be a place where young people can gather to hang out and celebrate milestones, such as birthdays, according to videos posted onto the bowling alley’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

“We want to create an environment where the adults can be in the bar watching sports and kids and families can be up here bowling or taking advantage of the family fun center (the arcade),” Baghalzadeh said.

There are currently two active businesses, Clearer Minds Counseling and Consulting and Hernandez Painting, though several others, including Sweet & Treats, Community Impact Center and La Palma De Soto Supermarket, should be moving into the plaza in the near future.

Power Property anticipates hiring at least 25 full-time positions and 15 part-time positions between the bowling alley, sports bar and kids arcade, according to the GoFundMe account.

Baghalzadeh and Chester hope to have the renovations complete by the summer of 2024. The biggest priority now is addressing the roof, which spans the whole property and is structurally weak in certain areas. It will most likely need to be replaced. The group has already met with local contractors.

“We have people that want to rent the spots, but we can’t because the roof is honestly caving in,” Baghalzadeh said.

The plan to revitalize a portion of Albemarle that was once popular but is now largely an eyesore has already generated support from many in the community. Fifteen people have already donated to the GoFundMe account as of Wednesday.

“My business is in this plaza, and the people that own it are working hard to give Stanly County a much needed entertainment venue, and a pleasant and professional environment for the current and future businesses,” wrote Cathleen Hedgecock, who works at Clearer Minds, on the GoFundMe page, where she donated $25. “Supporting this go fund me is supporting the betterment of Stanly County!”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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