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CEDAR RAPIDS — A father and son plan to turn the now-defunct Westdale Bowling Center, in the city’s southwest quadrant, into a bustling music venue.
Craig McCormick and his son Brett — the two own the restaurant Bo Mac’s, in the city’s New Bohemia District — purchased the 43,000-square-foot building, at 2020 Scotty Dr. SW, in June and plan to fit it into a venue for music and entertainment.
Craig said their intention is to specialize in country music. The tentative name for the venue is Back 40, a term for a remote or undeveloped part of a farm.
Tucked between a gym and an apartment complex off Edgewood Road SW, McCormick said the relative remoteness of the building was one reason for the name. The location, near Westdale Town Center, also was picked with a goal of bringing more entertainment to that area.
“One of our objectives also is we would like to see Westdale Mall blossom as well,” he said.
The Westdale Bowling Center first opened in 1984. It was run by B.J. and Kim Trickey until B.J.’s death in 2018, and Kim continued to operate it for more than a year afterward. The bowling alley closed in November 2019 and has remained empty since then.
“One of our objectives was to help make Cedar Rapids the music and art capitol of the Midwest,” Craig McCormick said. “Now that’s a big thing, but it helps us keep focus on things.”
He said he also plans to stage outdoor concerts in the parking lot and have the building serve as a banquet hall. Most of the bowling equipment has been sold off, but McCormick said he’s considering keeping a few lanes to host parties.
McCormick did not say how much he’s expecting to spend on the project, but the city assessor’s website lists the value of the land and improvements at $934,400.
He said he and Brett are trying to get as much as they can done this year, but a specific opening date hasn’t been set. The building still bears the Westdale Bowling sign and he said the interior has yet to be renovated.
Back 40 is part of a larger strategy for multiple venues and restaurants, McCormick said. He and Brett own several buildings adjacent to Bo Mac’s, on 16th Avenue SE, including a 14,000-square-foot set of currently empty connected buildings next door.
All the locations are under an umbrella McCormick called Bo Town Entertainment. One of the buildings next to Bo Mac’s is planned to be another performance venue, called Bo Town Live, McCormick said.
Another one may house a restaurant and, as the buildings are connected, patrons will be able to walk between the venues.
“Now the thing is putting whatever money we can to move forward on all of these, and then secondly is also to find the staffing and the people,” he said.
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