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Palo Alto Bowl for sale

Original post made by ToldUSo on Nov 2, 2006

So it seems that the PA Bowl is up for sale. Now I know the local NIMBYs won't like this, but we do not want any more housing. Fortunately if there is housing they will be Los Altos school district not ours, but we still don't need the housing. What we need, if we lose the bowling alley, is a good source of sales tax revenue. This means the type of stores we Palo Altans shop in regularly and we can attract our neighbors from Los Altos, Mountain View, Menlo Park etc. to frequent. Sales tax revenue is URGENT and at present we are suffering from lack of it. From our roads, to our libraries, to paying those who serve us by working for the city and so on and so forth. We need to preserve our quality of life by increasing our ability to generate sales tax.

Comments (35)

Posted by No new stores, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 3, 2006 at 6:12 am

We cannot allow a store to be put in place of PA bowl.
A new store will lead to too much traffic and negatively effect our quality of life.
Everything must stay the way it was in Palo Alto 50 years ago.

Posted by No new houses, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2006 at 10:30 am

We do not want new houses in South Palo Alto. Now we have the Rickey's development, the Elks development (to come), the Mayfield development (to come), the development near the Community School of Music and Art, the Jewish Community Center development (to come). Yes, I know that some of these are in Mountain View, but these developments affect San Antonio Road which is at gridlock certain times of the day. If you want a new store put it in the place of either a Longs or Walgreens (one block apart from each other in Midtown) or at Alma Plaza. Palo Alto Bowl is the last bowling alley for 20 miles around. LEAVE IT ALONE!

Posted by No new stores, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 3, 2006 at 10:47 am

WE must also act to prevent neighboring cities from building new homes/ business that may negatively affect our quality of life and create too much traffic.
From now on Mountain View, Los Altos, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto will have to ask t he PA city council permission before they build anything in their cities?
Can we retroactively close the Best Buy/Home Depot in EPA and the new shopping center in MV that has a Best Buy and Bed, Bath and Beyond. These places create too much traffic in PA.
We also must make sure that no new business goes into San Antonio Center once Sears leaves. The building must remain empty. Our quality of life depends on it!!!!

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2006 at 10:51 am

Personally, I would like the PA Bowl to stay at its present location. Ideally if someone else were to buy it and run it as a bowling alley this would be preferable. But, there is also a Thai restaurant, some small stores and a motel which seem to be part and parcel on this one. Lets have a compromise, keeping the bowling alley as a magnet and stores which will attract shoppers to bowl and the bowling alley to attract bowlers to shop. Everyone would benefit and the city would get its revenue. As for the traffic, its El Camino. Anyone within a stones throw of El Camino knows that traffic will always be on El Camino and their house values reflect it.

Posted by r, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 3, 2006 at 12:10 pm

Dear "No New Stores",
You are sooo right! We must keep everything in Palo Alto the way it was 50 years ago. The management of libraries in Palo Alto has shown us the way - it can be done and we can do it with PA Bowl!

Posted by bret, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 3, 2006 at 12:17 pm

I think we need another Home Depot/ Best Buy/ PetCo/ Starbucks center on this site.

Posted by No new stores, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 3, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Thank you r.
With the leadership of our self-appointed neighborhood leaders/activists/NIMBYists, who opoose any change or anything that may upset their little fantasy worls, we can definitely turn back the clock in PA

Posted by Carlos, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 3, 2006 at 1:13 pm

I'll be the first to say: "Keplterize it" (From prior JJ&F posting).

Posted by Bob Wenzlau, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 3, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Bob Wenzlau is a registered user.

I would be the second to say "Keplertize It". My only reason is to recognize what a resource the Bowl has been for us bringing up the kids.

This sale marks another loss of a "resource" for parents trying to find venues where teenagers can have fun. There will be no more "disco" bowling -- the disco was not my scene, but it was a good draw for the kids.

Given recent City decisions, we now have a parking structure where we had the downtown teen center. We harvest some of what we sew -- with no teen venues, we shouldn't complain about the consequences.

I hope we could harness the intense moral scrutiny exemplified in criticisms of parents providing weekend venues for kids at their homes (in lieu of other destinations), and send the energy toward supporting places where our teens can have healthy quirky fun (like the PA Bowl has served).

Posted by JL, a resident of Barron Park School
on Nov 3, 2006 at 1:48 pm

Great posts- amusing, and in some ways approaching more than a germ of truth.

Losing the bowling alley has been a while in coming; it's been on the back burner. However, it WILL be a loss to this community and one less place for teens to congregate. That's a shame.

As far as development goes, Palo Alto is projected to have 80,000 people in 2030, so we're going to have to build more housing.

In addition to the housing, if we're smart, we'll bui;d more retail infrastructure that attracts some version of big box retail along with a very diversified mix of high end retail and restaurants.

So far, our development effrts in thsi direction have been woefully inadequate.

That said, I've seen indications lately that the city may start to adopt a more "hands off" attitude about commercial development, and let developers have more freedom, and be less bound by the relatively *few* neighborhood NIMBY's that have been calling the shots around here for the past 20 years.

There's also indications that the City Council is backing this rather "passive aggressive" approach to development, by endorsing more and diferent kinds of development in service of a commercial goal, rather than pandering to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet who says "NIMBY/

Posted by Carlos, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 3, 2006 at 2:07 pm

My last post was tongue-in-cheek, but on a more serious note, from the post "The things I remember about Palo Alto while growing up:"Web Link

Here is a listing of the kid-friendly venues from that post that are no longer with us:
- Palo Alto Drive-In Movie Theater
- The Century Liquor store strip was a roller rink
- Bowling at the Indian Bowl on Emerson Bowl
- Chuck Thompson's swim club next to the winter lodge
- Slot car racing track
- Palo Alto Yacht Harbor
- Sitting on the balcony at Swensen's Ice Cream
- The haunted house they always put on at the Lucy Stern center
- Sea Scout building
- Movie Theatre on California Ave
- Varsity Theater on University Ave. gave away BIKES to the kids . .
- Swimming at Cubberly's pool in the summer
- Fireworks at the PA Baylands
- Halloween at the Fire circle
- Old Mill Theaters

Perhaps there used to be more things for the kids to do. I do not want to see bowling added to this list.

Posted by Howard, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 3, 2006 at 9:35 pm

Neither the city council nor neighborhood activists should really have any say whatsoever in whether the bowling alley comes or goes, or (within broad generally accepted zoning limits) what replaces it. It was charming but shabby and rather pathetic. New housing? New stores? Both are needed but let the private property owners and the free market decide.

Posted by J.L., a resident of Ventura
on Nov 3, 2006 at 10:56 pm

Howard's idea about the mythic ideal of "free market" forces in municipal development are the best joke on this thread, so far.

Howard, please show us how the "free market" works in community development, all by itself, without municipal cooperation, and government inclusion.

Posted by Howard, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 4, 2006 at 7:09 am

As I said, broad zoning regulation is fine, by our elected reps. Otherwise, they should stand aside. Self-appointed neighborhood activists should mind their own business.

Posted by Gunn parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 4, 2006 at 10:29 am

Although new owners certainly can and probably will do what they want with the property, as a parent I will be sorry to see the bowling alley go. During the past few summers the bowling alley has offered a program for middle and high school students where they could sign up to bowl one free game everyday from the beginning of summer until Labor Day. For my kids, their friends and other Gunn students the PA Bowl became a part of their summer routine. Too bad it may not be around for future kids to enjoy.

Posted by BooHoo, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2006 at 10:38 am

The only way for neighbors to dictate what goes on the site is to buy it. Not willing to do that? Well, then mind your own business.

Posted by J.L., a resident of Ventura
on Nov 4, 2006 at 9:25 pm

BooHoo, You are dead wrong.

I'm pro development, in a moderate way. This city has to grow, and it WILL grow in spite of the relative few here who try to shout down every single addition to our city. One can see our City Council already beginning to adapt to the new reality in the Valley, with new behavior.

That said, there WILL continue to be citizen input, but more enlightened input that takes into consideration the financial realities of developement. Also, if developers here want to make money, they are going to have to be more proactive in working with citizens.

Both groups can be led to water by our policy makers. Someone will have to lead on this, but it WILL happen.

Posted by A.J., a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 5, 2006 at 3:15 pm

I would love to see a discussion about the Palo Alto Bowl and how to save it, if that's what other Palo Altans want. Mountain View residents have come up with some pretty creative solutions to keep the pumpkin patch farm on Grant Road -- something that is still being worked on, but the plan seems to be geared to meet everyone's needs, the sellers, the developer's, and the community's. It's certainly not a done deal, but I think we could be just as creative here in Palo Alto.

However, this discussion was started by someone with a bitter axe to grind, it's really hard to sift through all the bitterness and sarcasm for a productive discussion. Can someone please start a new (legitimate) discussion on the Palo Alto Bowl? To the bitter neighbor: clearly you have been disappointed by some past experience(s) with Palo Alto development. If you need to continue to vent, please continue to do so on this thread and don't monopolize an attempt at a real discussion on this issue elsewhere. You're doing to everyone else precisely what you seem so bitter about.

Posted by ToldUSo, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2006 at 7:00 pm


Sorry if I sounded bitter in my original posting. Maybe I should have inserted a few smiley faces or something. I really thought I was sounding business like. I agree entirely that we should start to be productive and that was also meant to be in my tone. I just wanted to get a message across that there are some people in Palo Alto who are for change and if it has to be in my back yard, then so be it. A community by definition changes with the those who are present in it and too many times it seems that there are a few who really don't want any changes unless it is miles away from where they live, drive, shop, work, etc.

I have no idea what is happening on Grant Road, but if someone knows and know how we can start something here, so much the better. I would rather keep the bowling alley, maybe as part of a strip mall or something. However, the area looks very tired and needs updating.

Posted by eric, a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 6, 2006 at 10:17 am

There is a very simple way to save PA Bowl-- buy it.

Anyone here bemoaning the loss spent more then, say, $100 there in a given year? Its kinda like the types who wring their hands about the demise of the local coffee shop with a Starbucke latte in hand.

The PA Bowl site is zoned for housing. It will be housing.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 6, 2006 at 10:57 am

PA needs more tax revenues. How about a car dealership to replace the Palo Alto Bowl :-)

Posted by Marianne, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 6, 2006 at 1:10 pm

The sales-tax-argument and the San-Antonio-Traffic-From-Hell argument both seem like good arguments. I am not sure a free-market approach to deciding between them would satisfy the most number of people (which you could say is a way to gauge whether the solution is democratic or not).

Ideally, a citizen's group or groups (independent of government) could work with government to come up with a solution that would be optimal (in so far as an optimal solution exists).

Posted by KC, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 6, 2006 at 7:13 pm

It looks like the council re-zoned the PA Bowl site to commercial in August 2005.

Posted by laura, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 7, 2006 at 8:22 am

No matter what the city decides about the Palo Alto Bowl site it will be talked about, discussed, and mulled over for at least the next ten years just like the Alma Plaza debacle. What a shabby disgrace that is. An eyesore for sure and that is being polite! Way to go Palo Alto!!!

Posted by Arthur, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 7, 2006 at 9:55 am

Laura--we can thank Jay Hammer and Deborah Ju for the long delays in getting anything done with Alma Plaza. They have obstructed any attempts to modernize this center. They say jump--the city council asks "How high?".

Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2006 at 11:52 am

The days of small, organized groups of certain neighborhood activists holding up development in Palo Alto are numbered. There was a time when our citty could afford the luxury of considering and INCLUDING every voice in every decision. Those days are now gone.

Neighborhood activism is a good thing, but there is a core here of about two dozen people who have been at the center of most development holdups for YEARS; they reflexively oppose almost ANYTHING that has to do with growth in Palo Alto. Thier influence is fading - thank goodness!

Posted by Arthur, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 7, 2006 at 12:13 pm

Anna- though I would like to agree with you, I am not sure what you state is the case. We will see, however, if you are correct (and I sincerely hope you are).
Note the scam going on with Alma Plaza--first it was too much retail, now it is too little retail--soon it will be back to too much retail again. I agree with you, some people are opposed to any growth in PA nad they lead the city council around by the nose.

Posted by u dunt wanna kno, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 7, 2006 at 5:45 pm

we don't wanna lose the palo alto bowl!!!!!! It has already been cut in half in order to open some thai food restaurant, we should keep the rest.

Posted by GaryB, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 8, 2006 at 5:02 pm

Paintball place! Or how about a combination Rave club/ "medical" marijuana joint? That would serve wide area residents and mostly just generate night traffic.

Bowling and other venues in Palo Alto could be virtualized so that any resident can dial back to any age or traffic level of Palo Alto -- even when it was occupied by Indians. Skyscraper would accomodate all uses with a simple zoning tweak.

Posted by A.J., a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 9, 2006 at 12:33 am

I don't want to lose the Palo Alto Bowl either.

Posted by k, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 9, 2006 at 1:18 pm

The references to the Alma Plaza debacle are scaring me, because we live near Edgewood Plaza and the same thing seems to be happening there...not a great situation. It gets to a point where anything would be better, just something clean and new.
The Palo Alto Bowl isn't exactly attractive, but it was a positive force in the city. Is there a chance another company that operates bowling might buy this place?

Posted by Arthur, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 9, 2006 at 3:26 pm

It is clear that Edgewood Plaza will not be resolved quickly--the preservationits seem to think that anything the Eichler architect touched has to be preserved at all costs.
Then the "too much traffic/negative impact on my quality of life" NIMByists will also have to put their two cents in.
This will leadto t he typical PA situation--the City Council refusing to act because they are afraid they will upset some NIMBYist blowhard.

Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 10, 2006 at 12:16 am

Please! Someone give me the keys to a large bulldozer, and a permit - I'll personally raze Edgewood Plaza myself. It's ugly, and eyesore, blighted, a dump, an eyesore, a rathole, and an atrcoity - with no redeeming architectual qualities whatsoever. Let's give it to the fire department to train new recruits.

Posted by ToldUSo, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2006 at 5:56 pm

According to today's PA Weekly, gas station, car dealership or movie theater are the current flavors of the month. Come on Palo Alto, what do we want?

1 a decent mid priced department store

2 a family restaurant with a children's menu that doesn't break the bank




Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 6, 2009 at 2:10 am

Daniel Mart is a registered user.

Hi you all,


Web Link


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