A staple of the Halifax Shopping Centre will close its doors at the end of June, apparently a victim of the mall’s ongoing reinvention.
The manager of Fairlanes Bowling said management has opted not to renew the bowling alley’s lease this year, forcing the operation to shut down.
“We’re feeling very upset,” said Fairlanes manager Doug Blackler on Monday. “I’ve had people even crying, that’s how bad it’s been.”
Blackler said he hasn’t been given a clear reason for the decision to not renew the lease, but said it’s likely connected to plans to upgrade the mall, possibly by relocating the food court from the upper level.
“I believe 100 per cent that they didn’t have to do what they’re doing,” he said. “They could have taken the space from what I can see…and they still could have left me with half a building.”
No one from the Halifax Shopping Centre was available for comment on Monday.
Blackler said 20 employees will lose their jobs when Fairlanes closes, and hundreds of seniors and families will lose a reliable entertainment option.
“We are the oldest, longest-standing part of this whole mall,” he said. “We were here when the mall was nothing, in 1963. There’s going to be a lot of seniors, families and kids very upset.”
Fairlanes hosts several charity events every year, including the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake in March.
Ed Saunders of Big Brothers Big Sisters Halifax said it’s the organization’s largest annual fundraiser.
“Every year we usually raise in the range of $200,000 or more at that event, it’s a huge revenue source for us,” he said. “So it’s going to be a little challenge for us.”
Blackler questioned the transformation that’s seen the mall add several high-profile retailers in recent years, including the Apple Store, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and Lush.
“They’re turning it into an awful big high-end mall,” he said. “I think they’re going in the wrong direction.”