BETTENDORF, Iowa — The BettPlex, a 60+ acre indoor-outdoor multi-sport complex is announcing plans to build a 60,000 sq. ft. two-story family entertainment center called, High Five Lanes that will operate under the ownership of the BettPlex, but as a separate business.
It will have a 32-lane bowling alley (16 lanes per level), a two-story laser tag arena, an arcade and a kitchen capable of servicing its customers as well as an additional restaurant and two concession stands.
High Five Lanes will be located in front of the BettPlex, on the building's south side. The two businesses will share a wall and, if all goes according to plan, customers.
Doug Kratz, BettPlex Owner says these types of sports complexes are often times ran by municipalities because they are hard to make work financially.
"When we started this whole thing, family entertainment center wasn't even in the conversation," Kratz said at the groundbreaking ceremony of High Five Lanes on Wednesday, October 11.
Kratz says Mike Sampson, Chief Financial Officer of the BettPlex suggested an idea to add to their business model - bowling.
"I said Bowling! Nobody bowls anymore," Kratz said.
However, at a game for his grandchild not long after that conversation, Kratz's daughter showed him an article about millennials who love to bowl. With some further research, Kratz learned his idea of a bowling alley has changed overtime.
He says he learned bowling is a whole new ball game, and Scott and Jenny Emley of Austin, Texas know how to play.
The Emley's will run High Five Lanes. Scott is a former football player for the University of Texas Longhorns who, along with his wife own a Five Lanes in Lakeway, Texas and have another location under construction in Texas.
They shook hands on a deal with Kratz several months ago, agreeing to expand their business to Bettendorf, Iowa.
"[the BettPlex High Five Lanes location] has the same footprint that we have down in Lakeway so you’re able to enjoy maybe family downstairs but have a boutique look and feel up top," Scott Emley said from behind the podium at the groundbreaking.
The Emley's say the synergy between the BettPlex and their business feels unprecedented - they haven't seen anything like it anywhere else in the country.
"Families come in from out of town for local soccer tournaments and all that and the gap of time in between and I've done that when my son came through the youth system so this is perfect," Ben Pennington, Bettendorf High School Boys Varsity Soccer Coach, said.
Pennington is excited about the project - he says a lot of local kids will benefit, not only soccer players, but other athletes in other sports too.
"I think some of the kids are realizing this is going to be an opportunity for year-round training," Pennington said.
As the Bettendorf High School coach since the spring of 1982 he knows the soccer community very well and says he has friends in Iowa City whose children have access to clubs that can practice year-round.
"Kids just get that constant training and they're multi-sport athletes so this facility is going to benefit all of us, plus like [the developers] said, in between the games and tournaments families are going to have something to do, so I’m looking forward to it," Pennington said.
Builders tell Kratz construction is on schedule. The BettPlex and adjoining High Five Lanes are set to open June 1, 2018. It is a $50 million project including High Five Lanes. Alan Schopper will be the General Manager of the family entertainment center.
In addition to people at the BettPlex, High Five Lanes intends hopes to independently attract customers from across the area.
"We’re not only aiding in the family entertainment aspect of it but from a corporate events standpoint this is a great place for companies like John Deere to come celebrate their holiday party and we built a kitchen and food and beverage to be able to facilitate that," Scott Emley said.
"We gotta make [High Five Lanes] work on its own, we feel that the youth sports complex is a bonus for it all, but [High Five Lanes] can’t be dependent just on that," Kratz said.