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53-year Westside bowling alley closes suddenly; owners were behind on taxes; property is for sale

A Westside bowling alley since 1961, Bear Creek Lanes recently closed. The owners had fallen behind on their property taxes, according to the County Treasurer's Office. The property is for sale, but a real-estate agent says some of the bowling-related equipment has already been sold.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Bear Creek Lanes, the only bowling location in the Westside area for many years, closed recently for what appear to be tax reasons.
       The 24-lane establishment has operated at 1232 S. 21st St. since 1961.
       According to information from the El Paso County Treasurer's Office, the ownership (officially titled 1232 S. 21st Street Associates LLC) failed to pay its property taxes this year.
       As a result, the 2-plus-acre site (which technically consists of two parcels) was auctioned at the annual county tax sale Oct. 22. Treasurer's records state that a investor - name left confidential - paid off the property taxes of $14,209.99 (including interest) which was owed at that time for both properties.
       That does not mean the investor now owns them, but to get them back, the 1232 group would have to pay the investor the current back-tax amount, which has risen to more than $14,500, thanks to accruing interest, a Treasurer's spokesperson explained.
       The separately taxed personal property inside the building (which is not in arrears), is listed as belonging to Myra Benjamin and Curt Jones, according to the Treasurer's Office.
       Neither of these individuals could be reached for comment.
       During a 2005 interview with Curt Jones (on an unrelated topic), he told the Westside Pioneer that he had owned Bear Creek Lanes at that time for 11 years.
       Regarding real estate alone, according to the County Assessor's Office, the 1232 group has been the owner since 1999, when it paid $748,300 for both parcels in a single purchase.
       The current market value for the two comes to just under $754,000. The site consists of the 22,436-square-foot building and a large parking lot.
       According to second-hand reports, the lanes closed unexpectedly this fall, with people showing up for bowling leagues and finding the building shut down. Both the Bear Creek Lanes website and Facebook page were still active as of Dec. 4, with neither mentioning a potential or actual closure. Also on that date, one side of the tall electric sign in the parking lot still said “specials - visit online.” But hand-lettered “closed” signs were taped to the entry doors. The only contact information on the website is the business phone, which rang numerous times without an answering machine coming on.
       Additional information was provided by real estate agent Cliff Snyder. He is with the Brunk & Brunk agency, which has posted an “available” sign in front of the property. Snyder told the Pioneer he is trying to sell the site (both parcels with the building) for Curt Jones. The asking price is $1,325,000.
       Asked if the bowling alley is still operational, Snyder said that “some of the pins and a lot of furniture, fixtures and equipment” have already been sold. However, he added “some of the pins are still there. You could go in and bowl if you wanted to.”
       Based on Treasurer's Office information, if the property does sell, before taking possession the new owner would also have to pay off the investor who took care of the taxes, including interest.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 12/4/14; Business: Changes)

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