A trendy boutique bowling alley, restaurant, and event center concept is headed for a 118-year-old building in downtown Spartanburg.
Sean McEnroe, co-owner of the former Kimbrell’s Furniture building at 127 W. Main St., said Friday, March 23, the eight-lane bowling alley and event center capable of accommodating nearly 500 people will be operated by a team led by Howard Dozier, co-owner of Greenville’s Stone Pin Company.
Dozier said he plans to hire 35 to 40 people from Spartanburg for the bowling alley and event center operations at the venue.
“We’re in a very unique location now [in Greenville] and we’ve been very successful there,” Dozier said. “We’re excited to go to Spartanburg. I feel like we’re getting in on the ground floor of downtown’s growth.”
McEnroe said he and his brother, PJ McEnroe, also a co-owner of the building, are in the process of narrowing down their choices for the restaurant, which will occupy 5,000 square feet of the nearly 26,000-square-foot building and provide food for all three venues.
It will also have a 1,500-square-foot mezzanine level for small, private events.
The event center space will occupy about 9,000 square feet and will be similar to the Revel Event Center in Greenville, but with its own Spartanburg flair, according to the McEnroes.
Dozier said the event space will be able to host corporate gatherings, weddings, concerts, and other events. There will also be a craft cocktail bar.
The bowling alley will be in about 12,000 square feet and feature the “latest in social-media compatible bowling technology and inspired interior design.”
Dozier said a name for the bowling alley and event center will be determined during the coming months.
The brothers purchased the building in 2015 after it housed a series of failed nightclubs.
“We have been patient and diligent,” Sean McEnroe said of securing a bright future for the building. “It was always our goal to bring something that really attracts people to downtown. Some of the criteria included being open daily, having an entertainment aspect, and having broad appeal. We really think this project has hit all of those goals.”
City Council is set to discuss a development agreement with the McEnroes’ company 127 W. Main LLC at its meeting on Monday, March 26.
Sean McEnroe said the brothers anticipate investing up to $5 million in the project.
He said construction is expected to begin this spring, with the restaurant and event center opening in spring 2019. The bowling alley should open in summer 2019.
“This is a very exciting announcement for downtown Spartanburg,” said Jansen Tidmore, executive vice president of Spartanburg’s Downtown Development Partnership. “We often talk about creating that 24/7 vibe downtown, meaning there are people living, working, and playing downtown, and this helps elevate our ‘play.’ From our families to young professionals to college students, this business is geared to succeed and boost the quality of life in all our targeted sectors. This investment in our community continues to demonstrate that Spartanburg is on the rise and we welcome it with open arms — and likely a few gutter balls with the way I bowl.”
The McEnroes said four Spartanburg-based companies, including McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, Clerestory Projects Group, Dunbar Construction, and Sandra Cannon Interior Design, will lead the project’s design.
Construction will include a historic renovation of the building. The work will focus on restoring its façade to the days when it housed The Leader Department Store and giving its interior some modern features but maintaining the historic character of the building.
“I have always loved the idea of marrying historic renovation with hip, contemporary experiences,” Sean McEnroe said. “Ensuring that we keep the authentic flavor of Spartanburg’s history while introducing fun, chic elements to the palate of downtown has been a great conversation. I am excited about what this design team is putting together.”
McEnroe said the momentum generated by other large projects in downtown, such as the new AC Hotel, Montgomery Building renovation, and Aug W. Smith redevelopment, have benefited downtown.
He said he is more encouraged, however, by the recent acceleration of “smaller storefront openings” throughout downtown’s central business district.
“Spartanburg needs a density of options for walking traffic,” McEnroe said. “Spartanburg needs venues that attract people. The 127 W. Main project fills 60 feet of a storefront at the center of Morgan Square with three venues that actually bring new people into the city center. We think these concepts are the perfect accelerator for an already booming downtown.”
Assistant City Manager Chris Story praised the McEnroes’ patience and persistence in landing the project.
“We’re excited about it,” Story said. “That building in a vitally important location on [Morgan Square]. It has a relatively large footprint so it has been a unique challenge to figure out the right use. Sean has worked long and hard to figure out how to make it work in a way that would really added some much-needed offerings to downtown.”