Kingpin Bowlounge

Kingpin Bowlounge

Project Details

Kitchener, ON
33,863 square feet
End Use: Athletic and Entertainment Venues

Bowling Alley Scores With New Vibe

Entertainment district offers more ways to play for Waterloo region.
7-Month Timeline: The business needed to hit an aggressive open date to meet its goals.
Close Collaboration: Working closely with the architect ensured all regulation details were met for the bowling lanes.
Winter Construction: Crews thawed the ground to pour the floor slab in March.

Not Your Grandfather’s Bowling Alley

Filling An Entertainment Void

In the land of ice hockey, residents of an Ontario suburb are flocking to a sport that does not require a pair of skates or a frozen lake. A boutique bowling alley in a 175-acre entertainment district is reviving the popular pastime by offering  entertainment with upscale food and beverages in a contemporary atmosphere.

The new face of bowling is on display at Kingpin Bowlounge, which opened in 2013 in Kitchener. It is part of the latest expansion at Bingemans — which includes a convention center, outdoor water park and family entertainment center.

“It’s not your grandfather’s bowling alley.”

Mark Bingeman, Bingemans 

When it was time to grow the Bingemans’ hospitality empire, the choice for a general contractor was easy.

Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc., a Butler Builder® in nearby Waterloo, had partnered with Bingemans on the construction and expansion of the entertainment district’s FunworX indoor playland.

Kingpin Bowlounge was designed as a tri-level addition to FunworX — a Butler® building built in 2005 and expanded in 2007. A set of stairs at the entrance of Kingpin Bowlounge connects it to the bottom level of FunworX, making it easier for visitors to take their fun from place to place. And a walkout at the back of Kingpin Bowlounge and FunworX bridges the facilities to an outdoor amphitheater and pathways to other areas of Bingemans.

Jeff Shantz, vice president of project development at Melloul-Blamey, was at the helm of the project. For the Waterloo community, this project was a long time coming.

“This is the first time in 25 or 30 years that a new bowling facility has been constructed in Waterloo.”

 Jeff Shantz, Melloul-Blamey

Bowling Your Way

The 33,863-square-foot venue includes 28 state-ofthe-art, 10-pin Brunswick® bowling lanes, in addition to Boston Pizza, a franchise restaurant with locations across Canada and the United States.

Melloul-Blamey collaborated with a local architecture firm, ABA Architects Inc., to accommodate the clearance and height requirements for the lanes. To meet these design specifications, the Butler Builder held weekly meetings with the project team, which included Bingemans and the architect. This ensured the project was completed within a tight time frame— which was of utmost importance for Mark Bingeman. From concept to completion, Kingpin Bowlounge was completed in seven months.

“The hospitality business booms in the summertime. To meet our business goals, it was vital to open Kingpin Bowlounge by then.”

Mark Bingeman, Bingemans 

The Widespan structural system achieved the open concept that Bingeman wanted, with high ceilings and expansive, column-free. For the bowling lanes, slender columns were placed every 25 feet so they would not impede sight lines in the space.

“Often, a bowling alley can conjure an image of a dark, dingy space with low ceilings. Instead, we envisioned a modern, comfortable environment with plenty of natural light. Partnering with Melloul-Blamey and an architect helped us accomplish that goal.”

Mark Bingeman, Bingemans 

The space is designed for amateurs and pros alike. Newbies appreciate the effortless computer scoring, and even serious bowlers are taking note of Kingpin Bowlounge. The facility hosts leagues and tournaments, and it recently was honored with a Bowlers Journal International Award of Excellence for Best New Center.

Creating A Dynamic Dining Experience

At Kingpin Bowlounge, it’s not just the bowling balls and pins that are drawing in the crowd. Its food sets it apart from traditional bowling alley fare.

Gone is the snack counter with popcorn and candy. Instead, there is piping-hot pizza, blazing wings and cool drinks served at Boston Pizza, which is incorporated into the open-concept space.

The vinyl chairs reminiscent of old-school bowling alleys have been replaced by lush leather couches. Rich wood booths and tables flank the lounge area. A high-end bar creates a nightclub vibe on the weekends. A 125-foot projection screen shows sports on game days.

Event space is on the mezzanine level, which overlooks the bowling lanes, and an enclosed area on the second floor. In addition, a 5,000-square-foot outdoor patio is ideal for group entertaining. Since its opening, corporate functions and banquets have been held in these areas. Melloul-Blamey even hosted its corporate holiday party in the space.

Addressing Design Complexities

Adding to existing Butler® structures presented design complexities that were quickly overcome, Shantz said.

Blueprints for Kingpin Bowlounge called for it to be turned 30 degrees away from the existing structures. To solve this challenge, Melloul-Blamey specified use of a flat roof membrane to join the MR-24® roof systems of the two facilities with a Butler supporting frame. To ensure the roof drained properly, Melloul-Blamey incorporated curbs and deckings.

Completing the project during the winter months also created minor complications. To ensure the facility was opened by summertime, the floor slab had to be poured in March. But with the frigid temperatures, the ground was frozen. Melloul-Blamey chose to thaw the ground. Shantz and his team suggested an underground hydronic heating system, which was installed during excavation. This allowed the team to pour the floor slabs instead of waiting for the spring thaw, which provided ample time for the slabs to cure prior to installation of bowling lanes in April.

Because Kingpin Bowlounge and FunworX were built separately, it also was important to create a cohesive look and feel. For this reason, Melloul-Blamey specified the TextureWall wall system for the front elevation of the facility. Masonry and curtain wall also helped tie the Kingpin Bowlounge to FunworX.

Attracting The Community

Since Kingpin Bowlounge opened in July 2013, attendance has been high. Shantz believes the boutique bowling alley is introducing a new generation to the sport.

“Kingpin Bowlounge has injected excitement into the Waterloo entertainment scene. The community response has been great, and it’s truly becoming an entertainment destination.”

 Jeff Shantz, Melloul-Blamey

Butler Builder®

Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc.


ABA Architects Inc.

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