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Plaza Lanes Property to be Sold, Neighborhood Hopes for New Development

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The owner of a Des Moines bowling alley destroyed in a fire nearly two years ago has announced they will not rebuild and will sell the property instead.

Plaza Lanes Bowling Alley served as entertainment for Des Moines’ north side for decades, until it burned down on Dec. 18, 2017.

Owner Randy Thompson said he had hoped to rebuild, but the $6 million he got from the insurance company is not enough.

“The insurance proceeds did not dictate that number to rebuild. And anymore when you go to rebuild a bowling center, it’s not just your traditional bowling center; a traditional bowling center of just bowling. You got to have bowling, you got to have an arcade, you got to have redemption, virtual reality, laser tag and lots of games,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he would need about $10 million to rebuild it to be able to compete with other metro attractions.

“We hope that part or that eight acres that we have there going up for sale will be the next best thing besides Plaza Lanes for the area. I know the neighbors are sad to see it go,” Thompson said.

Charles Hill, a neighbor and vice president of the Douglas Avenue Coalition, said Plaza Lanes was much more than a bowling alley.

“I was a member of a bowling league here. It had a great restaurant. It was a place for people to come and congregate and communicate with people in government, people in the neighborhood, and we had a lot of community organizations that came and met here. It was fantastic place for people to come and we hope to see that be able to be continued in whatever gets put here,” Hill said.

Hill said now that the shock of losing Plaza Lanes has worn off, he hopes the community can welcome something new and exciting in its place.

“We’re looking for a good neighbor that’s going to come in and revitalize and lift up this neighborhood. Looking for something that’s going to help other businesses in the area maximize their value on their land and the rent they’re able to bring in and provide opportunities for the Des Moines residents that live on the north side is very important for us,” Hill said.

The Douglas Avenue Coalition said neighbors can come and give feedback about what they want to see take its place at their open house on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Polk County River Place Offices.

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