Midway Pro Bowl throws final bash before closing for new soccer stadium

For one last time Friday night, all the lanes at Midway Pro Bowl were packed. The bowling alley’s owners hosted a party to say goodbye to long-time customers, as the alley is closing to make room for the construction of Allianz Field, the new home of the Minnesota United FC.

“The bottom line is we had 34 great years here,” said Scott Koecheler, co-owner of Midway Pro Bowl. “The people that you see out here have virtually become our family.”

Koecheler and co-owner Al Loth received a 90-day notice to vacate last month, after the owners of the Midway Shopping Center sold the building. It will be torn down to make room for the construction of the stadium.

“When we leave here at the end of the month, I will not be back,” Loth said “Because I can’t drive past here and see this is in rubble and on the ground. I just can’t do it.”

A spokesperson for Minnesota United FC said the issue with the bowling alley is one between the landowners and tenants, not the team. He said officials are extremely excited about the progress of the stadium’s construction, and pointed out retail, offices, entertainment and restaurants are part of the plans for the surrounding the stadium.

“We are very proud of the privately-financed stadium - the first in the state - and are excited to be a part of building a community asset for everyone in the Midway neighborhood and Minnesota,” said Eric Durkee, Director of Public Relations for Minnesota United FC.

While some in the neighborhood welcome the economic boost the stadium promises to provide, they’re not happy it comes at such a cost.

“It promotes economic development, gives people things to do, creates jobs for people...It’s a good thing,” said Randy Tolmie, a long-time customer at Midway Pro Bowl. “I hate to see this place go though. Too many bowling alleys are closing.”

The owners and staff plan to spend the next two weeks selling equipment and clearing the space. Then they will make decisions about whether and how to re-open somewhere else.

Allianz Field is slated to open in 2019.