The Midtown Lanes/World on Wheels family entertainment center is closing on Sunday, June 23rd. The center, located on the south east side of the Midtown Shopping Center property along Venice Boulevard, has been there for generations and will leave a void in the communities it serves.
As parents, we have hosted and participated in many a roller skating birthday party at World on Wheels; and Midtown Lanes has been the site of some great family outings. For the immediate community that surrounds it – the loss is profound. There just aren’t many places for kids to go for such wholesome entertainment.
According to a representative from new property owner Midtown Shopping Center Associates and their lease management company Young Management, when they purchased the land under Midtown Shopping Center back in early May of this year the sellers included two additional parcels in the deal – one of them being this building that houses the bowling alley, the roller skating rink and Maria’s Cafe.
As part of that transaction, Young Management inherited the lease with AMF Bowling. AMF manages both the bowling alley and the roller skating rink. They sublease the restaurant space to Maria’s Cafe.
According to Young Management, representatives from AMF notified them that they wanted out of their lease a few months early. Our calls to AMF were unreturned.
Young Management has reached out to various bowling organizations about coming in to run the lanes. At this point, there haven’t been any takers.
When we met with management of Maria’s Cafe last Sunday, they were just starting to figure out their future – having been given 30 days notice at the end of May. The good news is that as of earlier this week, Young Management is in discussions with the family that runs Maria’s Cafe about moving the restaurant into one of their other Midtown Shopping Center spaces, re-creating the same nostalgic ’50s ambiance that currently exists at the bowling alley.
For anyone feeling really ambitious…there’s a lease sign out front for this 45,000 square foot space. As for now, this weekend promises to be one of fond farewells, with both the skating rink and the bowling alley conducting final events for their regulars.
Whitney Clavin, a writer at Los Angeles Magazine, wrote a great homage to World on Wheels this week…if you’ve ever been to WOW, this will totally transport you to the feeling I always got every time we went there. Why don’t we do this more often?
Los Angeles Magazine – World on Wheels Rolls to a Stop
LA Sentinel – A Community Treasure Closes Its Doors
Larchmont Buzz – Midtown Shopping Associates Acquires 14.56 Acres