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Break Out the Putter! Indoor Miniature Golf in the Works for Park Street

Owners aiming for a December opening.

If all goes as planned, Alameda youngsters will have one less excuse to say "I'm bored" during winter break after “Subpar Miniature Golf” opens on Park Street.

The 18-hole indoor mini-golf course is expected to operate year-round and also to feature family-friendly arcade games and a concession stand overseen by the operator of , just across the street from 1511 Park Street, the proposed location.

The mini-golf course is the brainchild of Michael Taft of Oakland who initially considered setting up a similar course at F3 at the Cotton Mill, a nonprofit arts center in the Jingletown neighborhood of Oakland. Taft is the president of that arts organization. He also considered locations on Alameda Point, but chose Park Street instead when he found a building downtown large enough to accommodate his plans.

Taft once owned his own industrial product design company in Washington D.C., so knows what it takes to run a business, he said.

He plans to completely renovate the interior of the double-wide Park Street storefront. When finished, the golf course will feature a Bay Area theme with mockups of local landmarks such as the Golden Gate span, Coit Tower and the Park Street Bridge decorating each hole. 

“The interior will be completely repainted, the carpet will be removed and a raised floor covered in synthetic turf will be installed,” Taft said. “We will also be constructing accessible bathrooms and upgrading the electrical system.” 

He said the building’s façade will receive a face-lift, as well, to erase signs of vandalism it suffered since it has been vacant.

The building sits adjacent to . In years past it has been occupied by a sporting goods retailer, a movie rental store, an art framing establishment and a Spirit Halloween costume shop. 

Between now and when the mini-golf course is scheduled to open, a different costume shop, Halloween City, will temporarily occupy the space. (The Spirit Halloween Shop will soon open in the vacated location at the .)

Taft and his business partner, David Abernathy, also of Oakland, will initially employ one attendant but expect to hire two more employees during summer months.

Taft’s use permit application was approved by zoning officials earlier this week. Further permits for rennovations and occupancy will still need to be obtained along with a business license.

Taft said he expects part of the building rennovations to commence prior to Halloween City temporarily occupying the premises next month. The remainder of the work, he said, will be completed after the costume store departs some time after Oct. 31.  

The golf attraction is slated to be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 midnight on Friday and 10 a.m. to 12 midnight on Saturday and Sunday.

“We think Alameda is the perfect spot for mini-golf,” said Taft. “This is a great town with so many families. The location is ideal for us, right in the middle of where everything is happening. There is no other mini-golf in the area, other than a course in Castro Valley. I also think being near the  will offer the potential for collaboration and cross promotion of our businesses.”  

Earleen Hamlin August 18, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Sounds like fun. Can the Municipal Parking Garage handle the business?
Cybelle August 18, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Sounds like a good idea. So happy to see that empty building finally get used again for something other than a Halloween costume shop. BTW why do we need another costume shop? With Party Warehouse and the one going into Borders don't we have enough?
lee August 18, 2011 at 06:06 PM
I think this is an awesome idea. I do look forward to reading the comments from the naysayers in Alameda who never want a new business to open in Alameda that will bring in the people from the other side of the Bridges.
Anthony Bologna, Jr. August 18, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Sounds like the "Super Franks" in Pleasonton, without the indoor Dodge Ball and possibly a few other things; their "golf course" is "in the dark w/black lights", too. Hopefully this will be "the place to go" for kids birthday parties, etc. during the day, and another place to hang, for the older teens. Park St's looking better but can always use some help! Check out Super Franks: http://www.superfranks.com/
Avrage Guy August 19, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Parking. Parking. Parking. We have tried to find parking around Ole's and the Subway store on Park Street, and more times than not, are forced to eat at other places that are away from Park Street. The traffic and lack of parking on and around Park Street keeps many of us away from that area. Just too frustrating.
Deni Adaniya August 22, 2011 at 06:40 AM
This establishment sounds like it will contribute nicely to the positive retail energy on Park Street. This is fantastic news -- we can't wait to check it out.
Tony Daysog August 24, 2011 at 09:31 PM
The owner of the pinball outfit on Webster has talked about having an entertainment strategy or district for Webster Street. Perhaps the indoor golf folks might find time and place for Webster, if Park Street doesn't pan out. Where exactly, I'm not sure. But, having an agglomeration of active family-fun entertainment uses might prove beneficial to all concerned parties. It's a thought.
Desiree Del Pin February 15, 2012 at 07:56 PM
is it open yet???
Carol Parker February 15, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Desiree - I have an e-mail query out to the owner. Will let you know once we hear back.
Carol Parker March 02, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I did not hear back from the owner so I headed over to the indoor golf course today and spoke to the person in charge of construction on the site. I was told their target date for opening is approximately April 15. They are still in the process of constructing the course and the mini Bay Area landmarks that will decorate each hole. I was told it is full speed ahead at this point and just a matter of completing the construction. If you happen to be on Park Street peek inside and check out the progress so far. The interior is painted sky blue and bright and inviting.

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