Duck pin bowling gets nod for downtown

May 1—Gilbert's Heritage District will soon be offering some more fun with duck pin bowling and arcade machines coming to downtown.

The Redevelopment Commission recently gave a unanimous thumb up to the design of the full-service restaurant and indoor entertainment venue at the southeast corner of Gilbert Road and Hearne Way.

"We anticipate hopefully to open the business around January," said Robert Barberio of Sixty First Place Architects, who noted it's just a projection.

The project is a joint venture between O.H.S.O Brewery and Distillery and Marc Barlow, who owns the .33-acre site. A vacant commercial building on site will be incorporated into the new development's design.

The new concept will connect to O.H.S.O's The Park with amenities such as a full bar, games, an enclosed dog park and live music. The Park opened in late summer 2022 and is another partnership between O.H.S.O and Barlow.

"It is a beautiful building," Commissioner Boe Bigelow said at the April 17 meeting. "I think that it's really exciting to have some entertainment in the district.

"I think we've been really needing it for a long time and it's kind of cool to have a miniature bowling alley-mixed concept with arcade and obviously with the food."

The building will be one-story, 30 feet tall, with roll-up garage doors on two sides to encourage "a lively pedestrian experience" and metal canopies that will stretch over the sidewalk.

About 3,848 square feet of the structure will house a restaurant and the remaining 2,808 will be set aside for the indoor entertainment. A pickup window also is included in the project.

The building's main entry will come off of Gilbert Road and a walkway off of Hearne Way between The Park and the new restaurant will served as a secondary access point for patrons.

"People in The Park with kids can go through to the bowling alley and vice-versa," Barberio told commissioners.

Commissioners asked questions about the landscaping, building materials and access points.

"Is the idea that you can eat while you're bowling or you can be in the yard and be waiting to be bowling and used the arcade and at O.H.S.O," Bigelow asked. "I know they're all separate concepts but they're kind of intertwined."

Barberio responded that he was correct.

"We want everybody to do everything," Barberio said. "One of the bigger problems we see in downtown Gilbert is if you try to get a table at a restaurant it could be a 45-minute wait.

"And so we have The Park, where you can come hang out. We have O.H.S.O and now we have this. It's open to everybody at all times."

Barlow's vacant commercial building on the site formerly housed his land appraisal business and other tenants.

Barlow once owned a bigger chunk of land at the corner but the town in a land grab took away 755 square feet that it used for a roundabout for the five-story Hearne Plaza Garage, which opened in 2019.

The two sides ended up in a five-year legal battle over the appraisal of the land.

Barlow eventually emerged the victor winning a $621,000 settlement from the town. Gilbert also had to shell out $323,237 in legal fees to fight Barlow in court.