to no avail.
"The landlord would not give us a long-term lease," Osborn said.
"Without it, you can't renovate the center, [you] can't afford to do
it. [The Segerstroms] did not want it to be a bowling center. They
wanted it to be something else."
And as recently as a week ago, Eleda Cohen, managing partner of
Sports Center Bowl in Studio City, said the Segerstroms wouldn't give
her any price for the land. Cohen said her business has increased 10%
each of the last four years.
"A piece of property in Costa Mesa is a prime piece of property
and it would be great to have a bowling center there," Cohen said. "I
didn't have anything to go on."
And the Segerstroms' claim that the market for bowling in Costa
Mesa is lackluster isn't entirely correct, Roussin said.
While league bowling throughout the industry has dropped in recent
years, nonleague bowling has picked up, keeping attendance overall
steady, Roussin explained.
"It used to be 70% league and 30% open," Roussin said. "Today,
it's about 50-50. There's a decline in one area, but entertainment
and open play has picked up and [we're] still at 100% plateau.
Overall, it's doing extremely well."
Former Planning Commissioner Tim Cromwell also believes the
Segerstroms could have done more to save Kona Lanes and the other
entertainment uses. Putting up a "For Lease" sign would have been a
good start, he said.
Cromwell, who develops shopping centers, said the Segerstroms can
make more money converting the entertainment to other uses. But he
would like to see the Segerstroms keep Kona Lanes and use it as a
bargaining chip with the city for future entitlements on the
Cromwell would also like to see a city leader act quickly to
declare the bowling alley historical to prevent demolition.
"If I was actually a city councilman, knowing what I know right
now about the interest in Kona Lanes from legitimate operators and
people who have the money to renovate and operate it and run it as a
first-class bowling alley, I think I would look into declaring Kona
Lanes as a historic building in the city of Costa Mesa and stop the
wrecking ball," Cromwell said.