New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

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Stewart
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New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by Stewart »

Bit of Bank Holiday good news for a change, not more flats, offices or roadworks, but I read today the now empty unit near the fire station which was a large music store is set to become a seven lane bowling alley, just down the road from the old Excel alley I knew from my youth.

"Once the transformation is completed, the facility will not only have seven bowling lanes – it will also have three interactive dart boards, shuffleboards and a children’s ‘redemption’ games area." Explains Tracy Standish, the director of Bowl Central, planning the idea.

Too old now for me to avail myself of these facilities, but it does hearten me that a new leisure facility is opening. Ahh.. the smell of those bowling shoes, when you used to collect them from the counter for your first game...halcyon days!

Full story here:

https://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news ... g-complex/
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dave m
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by dave m »

It will be interesting to see if it makes any money, I am not convinced that it will succeed
If bowling was so sought after, I am fairly sure that someone would have made an earlier attempt?
I hope I am wrong.

It’s a big plot of land, if you include Drew’s, which they want to develop? I wonder if it’s a short lease to give time for planning. Although a bowling alley must cost a bit to set up.
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Stewart
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

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dave m wrote: 29 Apr 2022 09:14 It will be interesting to see if it makes any money, I am not convinced that it will succeed
If bowling was so sought after, I am fairly sure that someone would have made an earlier attempt?
I hope I am wrong.

It’s a big plot of land, if you include Drew’s, which they want to develop? I wonder if it’s a short lease to give time for planning. Although a bowling alley must cost a bit to set up.
I think it is just the old Dawsons music store building, which abuts the gym to the right side and the Fire Station to its left. Which is quite a big unit. The whole site would be ambitious!
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OLDMAN
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by OLDMAN »

I wonder what ever happened about the ‘complex’ that was muted part of the Oracle – that included a bowling centre?

Agree about many activates mentioned being a bit ‘young’ for most, but ten-pin and darts can be any age, we had some into their 70’s which bowled regularly in the league, same with darts
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peterson
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by peterson »

Yes, looks like a positive addition this one. I spoke to the owner and picked up one or two more details in my write up:
https://readingonthames.com/2022/04/28/ ... sham-road/

Probably won't be open until early next year, but nevertheless, good to have something other than more flats coming to the town.
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OLDMAN
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by OLDMAN »

dave m wrote: 29 Apr 2022 09:14 It will be interesting to see if it makes any money, I am not convinced that it will succeed
If bowling was so sought after, I am fairly sure that someone would have made an earlier attempt?
I hope I am wrong.

It’s a big plot of land, if you include Drew’s, which they want to develop? I wonder if it’s a short lease to give time for planning. Although a bowling alley must cost a bit to set up.
There are 4 bowling centres within 10miles of Reading, that goes to 9 at 25miles and 25 if you go to 60-70miles (6 within London itself) so yes it is popular but – they are all easy accessible locally!
320 in all the UK
Maidenhead closed as the land got sold off – and there have been calls for a new one ever since!
The Excel was always popular / well used and only closed as oddly not making money (in fact losing it) – it was only discovered when the manager left and a temp put in at the end that money had been ‘siphoned off’ in a scam, by the old manager who then couldn’t be traced, it was too late to save the place
The only other place Reading then had was out at Theale so not convenient in any way, same as the nightclub there - that all closed down and is now where Ikea was built
Wokingham had a good centre and that got moved / re-built as part of the development - sadly they cocked it up with the length of approaches so its now not to BTBA standard so leagues / competitions can’t be held there so juts a ‘fun bowl’
Bracknell is next nearest and has leagues most nights and is always busy – same as Thatcham which is a very popular centre and holds many leagues / competitions, including international ones

So yes a decent one (to the correct standards) in Reading would be good


.................Oh – edit to add, most bowling centres are just the building / amenities etc, all the equipment is usually on a lease purchase type system as so specialised
So not that expensive to start

I have friends who opened their own 10 lane one down in Barnstable, then sold it and retired a few years ago but its still there!
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God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by dave m »

What I meant on my original post was that
A - I am not convinced that a Bowling place will make a long term profit but I am happy to be proved wrong.

B - the units that consist of the modern units have a massive car park in relation to the buildings in a TC location. Property developers would kill for that site to build flats which may be too good an offer to the landowner in time. Rent will increase if the landowner keeps the units v sells.
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MickEdge
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by MickEdge »

All very interesting. Generally agree with Peterson. However, I think it’s the wrong side of a busy road for most retail or leisure businesses to make a go of it. The massive developments across the road should help, eventually. In the end I reckon it’ll all be housing at some compromised height or other. Unless the monoliths opposite fail to attract enough buyers and the area becomes a no-go area for decent folk.

There will be a need for leisure activities in that area, if all goes well, but better on the other side of the road. If the Oracle and near it can offer more leisure stuff, then Caversham Road may be just too far. I imagine being able to have your pint, your meal and your bowl all close by is what most will want.
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OLDMAN
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by OLDMAN »

dave m wrote: 29 Apr 2022 12:39 What I meant on my original post was that
A - I am not convinced that a Bowling place will make a long term profit but I am happy to be proved wrong.

B - the units that consist of the modern units have a massive car park in relation to the buildings in a TC location. Property developers would kill for that site to build flats which may be too good an offer to the landowner in time. Rent will increase if the landowner keeps the units v sells.
I think I understood and was just trying to say if there are so many centres about and some have been in place since the 50’s / 60’s then there must be a call for it

Centres I go to are often very busy as many run leagues which is guaranteed income - some in London are very popular and new ones have opened there

Agree it depends on developers looking at the various options but maybe someone has done their homework

Plus I seem to remember planning for flats was turned down a while back? (for the Drews part, who also had the music place part of teh same building at one time)
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by dave m »

I believe the Drew’s project was demolition?
I think it could be converted to something leisure or retail if they couldn’t find a way to make it living accommodation

It’s bound to happen that the entire car parking area will end up as a building site at some point.

Maybe I belabour the point but as with the repetitive calls for ice rinks and bowling alleys, I tend to think that if there had been such a demand, some canny developer would have built the facilities. Hopefully the Dawson’s site will make a profit. Anything is better than empty units.

Even if the entire site goes to residential, I would expect some kind of retail/ entertainment on the ground floor.
Dunno if living above a bowling alley would that quiet!
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OLDMAN
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by OLDMAN »

Problem with a bowling centres is they tend to be bespoke one or two story buildings and need a reasonable amount of space if they include a car-park, which is why they are often built as apart of a car-park / complex
A bowling alley (pair of) is 10ft wide and 60ft long, plus room for the equipment behind so another 15ft or so - 7 lanes (odd number as normally all even?) would need 60ft wide x around 75ft long - plus bars / referments etc - not that you would get many flats on a space that size without going up and that would require demolition etc

A lot of people have been wanting a bowling centre in Reading for many years - since the Excel went in fact
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
It’s not affection, I’m just measuring up how big a hole I need to dig for the body!
Fed-up
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by Fed-up »

Isn't the bowling complex at Skimped Hill in Bracknell meant to be closing? I thought all of that complex was being redeveloped. If not, it certainly looks like it needs to be.
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OLDMAN
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by OLDMAN »

Fed-up wrote: 03 May 2022 13:17 Isn't the bowling complex at Skimped Hill in Bracknell meant to be closing? I thought all of that complex was being redeveloped. If not, it certainly looks like it needs to be.
It fell through due to covid etc - we kept getting told it was closing (and many not happy about it including them) as still in a league back before that, and the excuse they used for not refurbishing the place, but it was a bit complex as not just the bowling centre due to the Odeon and Pizza Hut being part of the same building and they were blocking it all so a lot of legal stuff was going on back then

Part of the problem was the bingo hall behind got bought out /knocked and its all supposed to be part of the same complex that was going to be developed, but that was a different building so that confused matters
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by Ollycat »

Does an "interactive dartboard" throw them back at you?
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MickEdge
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by MickEdge »

Ollycat wrote: 06 May 2022 15:27 Does an "interactive dartboard" throw them back at you?
Amusing idea, but I fear Health & Safety might frown on that. I imagined the darts were swept off the board and then mysteriously popped up next to you, with points safely downwards, which would make darts an even less active sport than it is. It seems interactive dart boards are for the innumerate and those lacking the skill to chalk numbers on a board.
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OLDMAN
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by OLDMAN »

MickEdge wrote: 06 May 2022 19:40
Ollycat wrote: 06 May 2022 15:27 Does an "interactive dartboard" throw them back at you?
Amusing idea, but I fear Health & Safety might frown on that. I imagined the darts were swept off the board and then mysteriously popped up next to you, with points safely downwards, which would make darts an even less active sport than it is. It seems interactive dart boards are for the innumerate and those lacking the skill to chalk numbers on a board.
Spot on - self scoring with sensors built into the board - expensive to buy and your f***** if they go wrong as all one unit, just needs one or two 'stray' throws...............
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
It’s not affection, I’m just measuring up how big a hole I need to dig for the body!
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Re: New Bowling Complex Planned Near Site Of Old Excel

Post by Stargazer »

Living behind the site, on the whole I agree that a bowling venue would be a welcome addition to Reading. Such a venue has been lacking for many years, and although across Caversham Road (say where TGI Fridays is) would be a better venue this one's not a bad one. If its primary use is for families that sounds great - I'm less keen on the proposed 'adult' use in the evenings and the 1am late licence though. I'm not sure the residents of Swansea and Northfield Roads would be keen on that either.
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