Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Jamaica gets first bowling alley

Published:Sunday | May 31, 2015 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon
Rudolph Brown/Photographer The signage for the JAMZONE Bowling Alley is displayed at the Manor Centre shopping complex, 195C Constant Spring Road, Kingston, on Friday, May 29, 2015.

Jamaica will soon have its first bowling alley called JAMZONE, whose signage is already mounted at its Manor Centre location in Kingston.

The 12-lane bowling alley is being developed by Alley-Cats Entertainment Limited, a fledgling company backed by five "young investors", Steven Khemlani told Sunday Business, even while declining to name them.

JAMZONE occupies about 22,000 square feet of rented space on the second floor of the mall owned by Khemlani, who has also been dubbed public relations representative for the company. The space was previously occupied by Dollar King, a retail business owned by the Khemlanis that went out of business.

Alley-Cats Entertainment was incorporated in October 2014 according to Companies Office records. Its sole shareholder, Rock Entertainment Limited, is domiciled in St Lucia.

Alongside the bowling lanes, JAMZONE will feature video games, children's rides and a bistro-style restaurant, Khemlani said. It opens in six to eight weeks.

"Put it this way: It will have entertainment that will be geared towards the entire family. You will have trains, electronic machines and areas for young people to hang out," he said.

The investors have been

tight-lipped on the investment, but Khemlani says "it's a multimillion-dollar project", which they expected to start generating returns after two years of operation.

"They don't want to really put that figure out there but it's plenty millions," the businessman said. It is being financed with a mixture of loans and "their own finances," he said.

JAMZONE will hire 30 to 40 persons, some of them on a seasonal basis. The latter jobs are likely to go to students.

The recreational site is being developed in phases with the first phase of the bowling alley, bar and restaurant already complete. Rides and video games will be installed in the second phase.

Billed as a venue to "bowl, eat and play", JAMZONE is sectioned into at least four areas, which despite featuring an integrated decor and lay-out, offers pockets for patrons to exclude themselves from activities which may be taking place in the other areas.

The bistro features a bar and a lounge area with seating fronting the bowling aisles so patrons can watch their favourite bowling teams.

The video game section sits closer to the Pepsi-branded entrance way which will also have a mechanical bull for thrill seekers; with the kiddies ride area off to the left.

The bowling alley has already seen a steady stream of calls from companies that want to book aisles at least three months in advance, and some schools are now forming bowling teams for a league that will also get underway, Khemlani said.

The bowling alley has already seen so much buzz, he said, that already there are plans to open a location in Montego Bay.

"We have identified a place in Montego Bay and very shortly we are going to break ground there," said Khemlani.

He said the second bowling alley would be larger than the one in Kingston, but gave no date for the intended construction of launch of that operation.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com