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St. Clair Shores

Popular bowling alley will be demolished this summer

May 16, 2011

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The building that once housed Shore Crest Lanes will be demolished this summer in order to make the property development-ready for potential buyers.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The owners of the former and once immensely popular Shore Crest Lanes and Lounge on Harper, near Nine Mile, are promising that the desolate building will become a St. Clair Shores memory this summer.

During a public hearing last month, Jim Jensen, a representative for 9 Mile Harper LLC, said once a contract is secured with a demolition company, work to rid the area of the decades-old building that has stood vacant for the past three years will commence.

“Demolition would begin almost immediately, but there is no plan for a building project,” said Jensen, addressing questions regarding the future of the site.

Bret Stuntz, project manager at AKT Peerless Environmental and Energy Services in Warren, said the cost of asbestos abatement has been a road block to demolishing the building and preparing the land for redevelopment. This is why the St. Clair Shores City Council approved the adoption of a Brownfield Plan with the owners, who have 60 days to lock down a contract and another 60 days to get work started.

Because the site is in the Corridor Improvement Authority, any increases in incremental taxes generated from the property following demolition will go back into the city’s CIA.

Under the adoption, the city is not committing to any reimbursement from the Brownfield Authority for the demolition. That could come at a later date, said St. Clair Shores Mayor Robert Hison.

“The building is functionally obsolete,” said Hison. He said it’s in the city’s best interest to assist however it can so that the area will become more attractive to potential business developers that much sooner.

St. Clair Shores resident John Burtch agrees. During the hearing he encouraged council to support the plan to clean up the site.

“Whatever it takes, we need to be doing it,” he said.

As of last week, the site has still not been sold, said Community Development Director Chris Rayes.

Shore Crest Lanes and Lounge, a bowling alley that also supported a night club, operated in the city since the 1980s. A fire in the mid-1980s resulted in major reconstruction. In 2008, the former owners were forced to close their doors due to back taxes owed.

Stuntz said that since then, the building has been a difficult sell. Demolition will ultimately make the property development ready.

“As an old bowling alley, it (can’t be converted for) an economically productive purpose,” he said.

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