Sunnybrook announces closing

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 14, 2015

 Sunnybrook Golf Bowl Motel in Sterling Heights, which has been in the community for decades, recently announced that it will close Sept. 30.

Sunnybrook Golf Bowl Motel in Sterling Heights, which has been in the community for decades, recently announced that it will close Sept. 30.

Photo by Sean Work

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After decades of being a mainstay of entertainment in Sterling Heights, Sunnybrook Golf Bowl Motel in Sterling Heights recently announced that its final day of business will be Sept. 30.

Sunnybrook owner Randy Shank, who acquired Sunnybrook in 1998 and was affiliated with it for more than a decade prior, said he’d like to thank his dedicated staff and loyal, faithful customers, who kept the venue going from the beginning and through the economic downturn.

“That’s what makes this whole process very difficult, because everyone, from the staff to (the) customers, if they came to Sunnybrook, they felt like family,” he said.

The property is located near 17 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue and includes a 27-hole golf course, a 58-lane bowling center, a motel, a sports lounge, and a banquet and meeting facility.

According to Sunnybrook’s website, the venue’s history dates back to when an 18-hole golf course was established there in 1936. The bowling facility and an additional nine-hole course were added in 1962, and the motel was finished in 1968.

Wayne Oehmke, president of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement that Sunnybrook has been an institution in the community for many years as a location for organizing bowling tournaments, poker tournaments, golf leagues and benefits.

“I believe they’ve been challenged by road construction, as have many in our business community, and while we all need and want more and better roadways, the economic impact on our businesses can be a burden they just can’t handle on top of all the other costs associated with being in business today,” he said.

Oehmke said he hopes that the site will be acquired by someone aiming to improve the lives of Sterling Heights residents and businesse owners.

“Hopefully, the site can be utilized for the betterment of our Sterling Heights residents and the business community,” he said. “It has many great assets in being so close to rail service and major highways.”

During a Sept. 1 City Council meeting, mayoral candidate Paul Smith said the Sunnybrook property had been “sold out to an industrial developer.”

“According to (City Planner Don) Mende, basically they’re going to put a big cul-de-sac down the middle of it and put in small industrial places that the developer thinks they’re going to be able to sell,” Smith said. “We’d be a lot happier if we kept Sunnybrook as it is.”

Mende did not return multiple calls for comment. According to an Aug. 27 statement from Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor, the facts about the property’s future will be released when the owner feels it is appropriate to do so.

“Sterling Heights continues to have one of the lowest vacancy rates in manufacturing space, hovering at about 2 percent,” Taylor said in a statement.

“Ford, FCA, GDLS, BAE, Kuka and hundreds of other manufactures have invested billions in this area over the past 10 years.  The demand for manufacturing development in Sterling Heights will continue to be strong over the foreseeable future.

“Knowing that Sunnybrook is ideally located in the heart of the city’s robust manufacturing corridor, it comes as no surprise there has been and continues to be interest in redevelopment of this one-of-a-kind greenfield space.”

Shank said he could not comment on any purchase agreement processes, though he said road construction did not play a role in Sunnybrook’s decision to close.

Find out more about Sunnybrook Golf Bowl Motel, 7191 E. 17 Mile Road in Sterling Heights, by visiting www.sunnybrookgol fandbowl.com or by calling (586) 264-2700. Learn more about the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry by visiting www.shrcci.com or by calling (586) 731-5400.

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