It’s official: Bel-Mark Lanes has decided to sell its property on Jackson Rd. to an Ohio developer, who plans to replace it with a Tesla service center.
Bel-Mark opened in 1976, and, compared with glitzier alleys aimed at millennials, its thirty-nine lanes have a retro feel. It has a full bar and a menu that includes delicious pizza, generous sandwiches, and an interesting array of snacks, including edamame. There’s also a karaoke bar, arcade games, and a selection of bowling balls for free use, as well as rental shoes.
As a member of the Ann Arbor Early Risers Bowling League, I bowled at Bel-Mark every Thursday morning for three years, until the pandemic interrupted our play.
It was a popular venue for bowling leagues, kids learning the sport, and teens enjoying a spirited night out. Members of the U-M bowling team and other competitive bowlers practiced there.
But in a December Facebook post, the Smolz family, which has owned Bel-Mark since 2009, gave a heads-up that a deal was possible. In January, they followed up to alert bowlers that this season would be its last.
Mark Smoltz, who manages the alley, didn’t return our calls. But in the Facebook announcement, he said Bel-Mark will hold a celebration for its customers before it closes in April.