The property, which includes around 70 parking spots, changed hands for $775,000 in 2016. | Photo by Mark R. Long

In June 2016, Vernon Lanes in Butchertown changed hands, and there was hope that new life would be breathed into the venerable bowling alley. The building shut for renovations, but after two and a half years, it’s never reopened.

Recently, a sign noting the property was available was posted.

The property, at 1575 Story Ave., has been quietly marketed for a few months, drawing inquiries from a handful of interested parties, including small local outfits and larger, out-of-town hospitality firms, said Scott Howe, a partner of Howe Real Estate, which is marketing the property.

“The aspiration … is to get a functional user for all the space available that is not only good for the property but good for the neighborhood,” Howe said.

In addition to eight bowling lanes, the property has a bottom-floor nightclub space that hosted bands, plus room for events, food service and several bars. Two upstairs floors in the original house could host short-term rentals, offices or workshare space, he said.

The bowling alley and club space stretch back from a three-story house built in 1876, according to county property records. The pins last fell at the Vernon in mid-2016, when a unit of Atlas Properties LLC purchased it for $775,000 from Robert Dale McCall, who’d bought it from St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic School a decade before, the records show.

Atlas is a subsidiary of Louisville investment firm LEVO Capital, owned by Weston Marcum. Through a spokeswoman, Marcum declined to comment.

The property features eight bowling lanes, but the return of the game isn’t guaranteed. | Photo by Mark R. Long

Insider reported at the time that Marcum planned to renovate the property and hoped to reopen it as a bowling alley in the fall of 2016, assuming no major surprises during remodeling. But after much of the interior was ripped out, a lot of work remains to be done before food or drinks are served, or a frame rolled.

“He’s spent a good amount of money just getting it to a workable point where it’s, ‘OK, now we can start putting stuff back together,’ ” Howe said.

The roughly 24,000-square-foot building is available as a whole, though offers to develop individual pieces of the property would be considered, he said. Rare for the neighborhood, the property has around 70 off-street parking spaces.

For those still holding out hope that the neighborhood bowling spot would return, Howe said, that is not guaranteed.  “It’d be tough to get the bowling alley going, but somebody could prove me wrong.”

Mark R. Long
Louisville native Mark Long is glad to be home after 18+ years away in New York and London. He’s putting his writing and editing experience at The Wall Street Journal to work as a freelancer, digging into stories on infrastructure, transportation, urban design and ecology.