Bowling alley, entertainment center to open by end of year

Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- David Casillas carefully adds a fresh number decal to lane nine in a soon-to-open bowling alley on U.S. 61 near La. 44 in Gonzales on Friday. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- David Casillas carefully adds a fresh number decal to lane nine in a soon-to-open bowling alley on U.S. 61 near La. 44 in Gonzales on Friday.

Ascension Parish residents looking for some local entertainment should get a nice post-Christmas gift before the end of the year.

Malco Theatres Inc. officials hope to open their new bowling alley and entertainment complex, Premier Lanes Entertainment Center, on either Dec. 27 or 28, said Marc Pater, the general manager for Malco, which also owns Metro Bowl and Circle Bowl in Baton Rouge.

The new complex is in the Bayou Plaza retail center on U.S. 61 in Gonzales.

“I think most people are going to be amazed when they come in here,” Pater said.

Rick Bourgeois, Malco’s vice president for bowling operations, said the company has been in business for nearly 100 years, but this is its first foray into opening a true entertainment center. He said Premier Lanes will feature the “newest technology” available in the bowling industry and also will have a lot of “novelties that people normally don’t see.”

The company also is planning to build a theater in the Bayou Plaza retail center that Bourgeois hopes will be open next fall.

“Any time that you decide to go into a new market, there’s excitement being generated by the people in the community because they’ve not had this type of entertainment before,” Bourgeois said. “It’s just a new concept. I don’t think anybody’s seen a place like this before in this region.”

The entertainment complex will feature more than 42,000 square feet, including 26 bowling lanes, an arcade and a cafe.

“It’s been a dream of mine for many years to open an entertainment center rather than just a bowling center,” Pater said.

Local residents who want to bowl can do so. Premier Lanes will host league play and will also feature a separate six-lane party center. But Premier Lanes will be about much more than bowling.

Pater said the party lanes will feature a 12-foot by 42-foot television screen for viewing sporting events, while the arcade will offer children plenty of activities.

Malco officials wanted to offer “something new and exciting,” and they believe Premier Lanes does that, Pater said.

It will feature the first laser maze in the state, in which the object is to navigate through a maze without touching any of the lasers. In addition, the entertainment center will feature indoor bumper cars and more than 50 arcade games. The arcade also will feature cards that keep track of rewards earned that can be spent at a “prize palace.”

Malco received nearly 200 applications at a job fair held recently, and about 140 of those applicants were called in for interviews. Pater said he expects Premier Lanes to employ approximately 65 to 70 part-time employees.

“You can definitely see a lot of things happening,” Pater said. “If you’re just walking in the front, you can tell it’s an entertainment center.”