Finances stall Bowl 58

Financial problems continue to plague Bowl 58, the much-anticipated bowling center on Route 25 in Riverhead that has been sitting unfinished for months.

Developer Joe Albanese said the project, which was begun in 2008, is about 90 percent done but has run short of money.

“We’re putting together a new team of investors,” he said in a brief interview. “It’s a tough economy out there.”

Mr. Albanese said most of the interior work is done, as is the work required by the state Department of Transportation.

“Everybody said the town and the DOT would be problems, but the town and the DOT weren’t problems at all,” he said. “There’s about two months’ worth of work left, mostly finishing and furnishing.”

He said no work has been done at the site for some time due to the lack of financing, but he insists the project will continue.

“It’s still moving forward, but certainly not as fast as I would like,” he said.

Mr. Albanese has received significant assistance from the town on the Bowl 58 project.

The Planning Board, for example, allowed him to open before all the work required by the site plan approval was finished, and the Town Board allowed him to delay payment of a $48,000 water district bill through the posting of a letter of credit.

The town Industrial Development Agency also granted Bowl 58 a seven-year property tax abatement that gives the project a 50 percent exemption on the value of improvements to the property for each of the first three years, and then decreases that exemption by 5 percent a year for the next four years.

Bowl 58 also was involved in litigation when a group of contractors who had worked on the project reportedly filed mechanic’s liens totaling more than $550,000 against the premises and alleging breach of contract. Work on the project was stopped once before, in early 2009, due to financial problems.

When completed, Bowl 58 will have 28 lanes plus a lounge, restaurant, arcade and party rooms. It’s expected to cost a total of $10 million. There are currently no bowling alleys in Riverhead or neighboring Southold towns.

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