From WMBF News partnerMy Horry News:
The City of Conway is about to see one of its longtime dreams come true, but in an even loftier fashion than its officials had imagined.
The dream was family entertainment to keep folks from having to drive to beach areas for their entertainment and then leave their entertainment dollars there. The answer is called “810”. It’s a bowling alley that Conway Chamber of Commerce vice president of economic development Gary Lee calls “the bowling alley of all bowling alleys.”
In addition to bowling lanes, the $4 million entertainment complex will have board games, Jenga, bocce ball, ping pong, billiards, darts, shuffle board, fine dining and a bar featuring craft beer and cocktails.
“It’s going to be a place that everybody in Conway is going to be proud of,” Lee said.
Owner Michael “Mike” Siniscalchi, who also owns a similar facility in North Myrtle Beach, dubbed 710, says Conway’s facility will allow him to be more creative than his North Myrtle location did.
In that case, he bought an existing bowling alley and shaped it to meet his concept, but in Conway, the facility, planned for U.S. 501 just across from Coastal Carolina University and near Horry Georgetown Technical College, will be built new from the ground up.
His concept is turning back the clock in a way to a time when people weren’t as tied to technology as they are today.
“The whole social concept kind of comes with our fascination with technology, and we all need a place to put our phones down and spend time with family…,” Siniscalchi said, adding that’s why the facility will not have the routine video games that other businesses do.
City officials decided several years ago that Conway needed family entertainment and one of the things on their list was a bowling alley.
To encourage family entertainment to locate in Conway, council began offering family entertainment incentives that include refunding a portion of water and sewer capital recovery fees, waiving building permit fees, business license fees, hospitality fees and property taxes for as long as five years.
Siniscalchi said the strong incentive plan wasn’t his only reason for deciding to locate his new business in Conway, but the savings did factor into his decision.
“That definitely played a role and made it more appealing to come to Conway,” he said. “I don’t think that was a make or break thing for us. It made what was already a good decision a better one for us,” he said.
Conway Chamber of Commerce economic development coordinator Devin Parks says this is the first time the family entertainment incentives have been used. He called 810 a place that parents will love to have their children go to play all types of games.
City council is expected to give first reading to the zoning designation and annexation of the new business at its meeting Monday night. A second reading is set for council’s first meeting in November. The property is located in Horry County’s jurisdiction now and already has highway commercial zoning.
The plan is for Conway to annex the property into the city with the same zoning designation it already has.
Siniscalchi says he purchased the property this past week and he’s ready to move forward with construction as soon as final approval is given. He’s anticipating six months for construction putting his opening some time in April or May. Even with unanticipated delays he expects the business to definitely open in 2018.
“We’re excited to bring it,” he said. “We think the folks of Conway are excited to have it. There really isn’t a ton of family entertainment there now. Conway has become a pretty large and fast-growing city and the downtown revitalization is going well…We’re just excited for the direction Conway is headed,” he said.
Siniscalchi anticipates hiring about 50 part-time and full-time employees who will definitely come from this community. He plans to use his North Myrtle Beach site as a training facility.
Siniscalchi acknowledges that mixing high quality food, including brick oven pizza, with bowling is a new concept for a lot of folks, adding that 810 will be providing much more than just bowling and food.
“You can come bowl with us, but really we’re a lot more than that. We’re there to be a food and beverage night-out destination whether you’re bowling or not,” he said.
Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy is also looking forward to 810 saying it’s a wonderful thing to happen to Conway.
“It’s fun. It’s a physical activity. It’s family. It’s a group activity. I really don’t see it as being anything but a wholesome activity for the people of Conway,” she said.
Parks is especially pleased that this is a business the chamber went after and landed.
At Monday’s city council meeting he plans to make a report on the 79 businesses that the chamber has targeted for Conway.
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