Bowling entertainment center to open in November

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The planned Stars and Strikes bowling entertainment center will include an eight-lane VIP bowling area, similar to the one depicted in this company-provided photo. SPECIAL

The 55,000-square-foot Stars and Strikes “bowling entertainment center” expected to open on Wrightsboro Road later this year will be unlike anything seen before in Augusta.

The Alpharetta, Ga.-based developer of the facility slated to occupy vacant retail space in the North Leg Plaza shopping center said the concept is still a fairly new one.

“When we opened our first store in 2005 in Cumming (Ga.) we were one of the first 10 in the U.S. Now there are around 250,” said Chris Albano, the company’s managing partner.

The 24- to 28-lane bowling alley is only one component of the attraction, which will occupy space in the plaza previously leased by the Aaron’s rental center and the Big Lots liquidation store. The center will include a bumper car ring, a two-story laser tag room, three “escape room” puzzle pods and 7,000-square-feet of arcade space featuring 100 different video and ticket redemption-style games.

“We expect as many people to play in the arcade as we do to go bowling,” Albano said.

Albano, who also owns the shopping center at 3242 Wrightsboro Road through a separate investment group, said construction should begin in June and be completed by November. He said the $7 million project will create about 120 jobs.

“This is substantial,” he said. “This isn’t a smallish kind of deal.”

Stars and Strikes’ concept draws comparisons to Dave & Busters, a Dallas-based chain often described as a “Chuck E. Cheese’s for grown-ups.” Dave & Busters, however, do not offer bowling.

Albano said the center will feature a full-service restaurant, bar and event rooms for birthday parties or other catered events.

“Our primary target is to provide a clean, fun and safe atmosphere for children and their parents,” he said. “That is the core of what we do, but we also have ample opportunities for adults to enjoy themselves, whether its hanging out at the bar to watch the NFL, just having a burger, or coming in for a corporate team-building exercise.”

When complete, the center will be the most comprehensive family entertainment complex since Adventure Crossing, which closed in November.

Stars and Strikes currently operates 10 centers in Huntsville, Ala., and the metro Atlanta area. Albano said the company prides itself on its charitable involvement – its other locations open free during the holidays for foster children – and maintaining a clean and safe environment for guests of all ages.

Troublemakers are not tolerated, he said.

“They realize really quickly that this isn’t the place for me,” he said. “They’ll go somewhere else.”

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com

By Damon Cline Mon, Feb 27, 2017 @ 5:01 pm