The first phase of the Carson Lanes expansion project is expected to be finished by the end of December as Kernel's Popcorn opens its doors today followed by Wally's Pizza and Subs and Genoa Candy and Coffee Co. by next weekend, owner Eugene Burger said.
Burger, who purchased the 34-year-old bowling alley in 2002 for $2.5 million, said the entire project will be completed by April after nearly two years of planning and construction. So far, the cost for the expansion is $5 million, he said.
"I probably had too much space," Burger said of the original building at 4600 Snyder Ave. "I wanted to create a synergy to enable people to gather there."
A pool hall, dubbed Classic Billiards, and an arcade are expected to be completed by the end of the month, too.
Harlan Aigner, 19, who came to the bowling alley Thursday afternoon with some friends, said he was looking forward to the new pool hall and Wally's Pizza and Subs.
"I haven't heard of it before and usually the smaller businesses are better for food," Aigner said.
The last phase of the project, which will connect Aloha Discount Wine and Liquors to the Carson Lanes building via land bridge, will add 11,000 square feet of retail space and another 12,000 square feet of office space. A daycare center is expected to open next year, too.
Burger said the retail space will be a challenge to fill given the already high vacancy rate in Carson City, adding he is offering potential tenants below-market prices on rent.
"I'd rather have it below market rent than have it vacant," he said. "If we're open in April, it will take the rest of the year (to fill)."
As part of the expansion, 16 of the 44 bowling alleys were removed while the lounge and bowling center received or are about to receive makeovers.
Burger also added the hamburger restaurant Johnny Rockets, which opened Sept. 3.
The new Genoa Candy and Coffee Co. shop will be the second location for owners Shawn and Janet St. Peter, who were contacted by Burger about opening a store in the Carson Lanes expansion. Burger will own 60 percent of the Carson Lanes location.
"One of reasons we chose to be part of that is the location," Shawn St. Peter said on Wednesday. "We also wanted to expand our organic label."
Besides its organic coffee the shop will also sell fudge and candy.
Burger said Kernel's Popcorn will mirror the Chicago-based chain Garrett Popcorn Shops, which serves a variety of flavored popcorn.
He said there will be room for more expansion once the freeway is connected to Highway 395, which will add two more acres of land from Snyder Avenue and the frontage road that runs along the western edge of the property.
Burger owns Eugene Burger Management Corporation, based in Rohnert Park, Calif., which has properties in Nevada, California, Colorado, Texas and Arizona.