Foothills Bowl on the auction block because of owner’s $4.62 million debt

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The Foothills Bowl in Auburn is in danger of getting bowled over by debt. Owned for more than four decades by Kimberly-Oregon Realty, located in Rancho Santa Fe, the popular 24-lane facility on Bowman Road is being put up for public auction Wednesday. Sale of the Foothills Bowl, along with a long-empty restaurant, the Foothills Motel and two vacant parcels in the same complex, is scheduled to take place at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday outside 11546 B Avenue in North Auburn. The auction – with the properties going to the highest cash bidder – is being held to settle a $4.62 million debt that Kimberly-Oregon has with Cupertino Capital. James Skorija, Foothills Bowl manager, said the bowling alley, sports bar and snack bar will continue to operate. But, with the auction going ahead, it’s uncertain what will happen with new owners taking over. Theoretically, a bowling alley operator could sign a lease with the new owners and keep the facility running as it is now, he said. Skorija said there is a chance that Kimberly-Oregon could continue to run lanes that have been operating since 1959. Jeffery Lane, an Auburn machine shop owner having lunch at the bowling alley, said he’s hoping Auburn won’t lose one of its social hubs. “When the weather get inclement, this place is packed,” Lane said Monday. “And they do a lot for special-needs people and kids.” Marsha Niegmann of Auburn was bowling Monday and, while she hadn’t heard of the pending auction, agreed that there was value in keeping the lanes open. “It’s just a fun thing to do and anyone can bowl – it’s for old and young alike,” Niegmann said. The restaurant facility – last open in the mid-1990’s under the Sam’s Hofbrau name – appears to be getting a lot of attention from potential buyers visiting the site, Skorija said. Across the freeway, Jan Decker, executive director executive director of the state' Welcome Center and chief executive officer of the Placer County Visitors Council, said Monday that the restaurant location would be a good site for the visitor’s center if the county had funding available. “And it’s a great location for a restaurant,” Decker said. “I’m amazed someone hasn’t done something before with it. It has great exposure from the freeway.” Decker said he’d like to see a restaurant similar to Granzella’s in Williams along Interstate 5. Granzella’s is a must-stop by travelers for its deli, restaurant, sports bar and gift shop. It also has an adjoining 43-room inn. “I’ve always said if they put in something similar there and had the same business model, it be an absolute moneymaker,” Decker said.