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Originally published Friday, December 21, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Bowling coming in, theater on way out in downtown Bellevue

Bellevue's downtown pedestrian corridor, center of the city's growing nightlife scene, is about to gain a bowling alley and lose a movie...

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Bellevue's downtown pedestrian corridor, center of the city's growing nightlife scene, is about to gain a bowling alley and lose a movie theater.

An upscale, hipster bowling locale, Lucky Strike Lanes, is scheduled to open Dec. 30 at Lincoln Square. It will be far from a traditional alley, with no leagues but two bars, a DJ booth and retro lounge décor.

Just to the east, the new owners of the 8-year-old Bellevue Galleria are planning to replace the 11-screen theater with offices, a nod to the red-hot Bellevue office market. The theater's departure would drastically overhaul the mall, which has at times struggled to keep tenants.

Both projects come to a downtown that is welcoming hundreds of new residents and workers, and several high-profile businesses, including Microsoft, Eddie Bauer and Expedia. About 4,000 condos or apartments and 2 million square feet of office space are under construction, city officials said.

With so many more people around, the nightlife is maturing to meet the demand, said Bob Derrick, the city's economic development director.

Ready, set, bowl

The bowling alley joins two other nightspots that opened this fall: the Spot Off Main neighborhood bar, near Main Street, and Vertigo nightclub, on 112th Avenue Northeast.

Lucky Strike will be a complement to the Parlor Billiards, a pool hall and bar that rakes in crowds of 20- and 30-somethings on weekends, Derrick said. The Parlor is on the third floor of Lincoln Square, just one floor up from Lucky Strike.

The bowling alley will be the first in downtown Bellevue in 15 years, with 12 public lanes, including plasma screens displaying artwork and film clips. Companies and groups can rent out the private "Luxe" room, with a bar and four lanes.

During the day, the alley will be open to a general audience, including families and children's parties, but after 8 p.m., it will be limited to patrons 21 and older. A bouncer will enforce a dress code, including no men's hats or overly baggy clothing.

The Southern California-based Lucky Strike chain is hoping to attract a cross-section of ages and occupations, not just those who live or work downtown, said Franco D'Amico, general manager of the Bellevue location.

"Bowling is the great equalizer between the CEO and the warehouse guy," D'Amico said.

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Growing at the Galleria

The Galleria was bought this summer by Rubin Pachulski Properties, based in the Los Angeles area, and the company doesn't have a movie theater in its plans, said its broker, Tom Bohman of Cushfield & Wakefield of Bellevue.

Business at the Galleria 11 took a hit after the 16-screen Lincoln Square Cinemas opened two years ago, and Rubin Pachulski bought the mall to capitalize on the hot local office market, according to city officials and Bohman.

The company plans to convert the theater into office space early next year, though no tenant is lined up, Bohman said. A new floor could be added because of the theater's high ceilings, and another 29,000 square feet is already vacant on the mall's second floor, so the space could be up to 120,000 square feet.

While the Galleria has struggled over the years, business is doing well, Bohman said. None of the other tenants, including Tap House Grill and Gene Juarez salon, is expected to change.

Business is also solid at the Galleria 11, said Ray Hallett, whose Hallett Cinemas, based near Yakima, took over the theater in 2005. "We're still real happy," he said.

Hallett hasn't heard from the Galleria's new owners but doesn't want to leave.

"I don't worry about it," he said.

Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or abach@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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