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The first new âcommunityâ project since the construction of The Village broke ground Tuesday.
It is the Mammoth Rock âNâ Bowl, a two-level entertainment/dining facility pushed forward by Mammoth attorney and developer Dan OâConnell and his wife, Andrea, and others in the Mammoth Rock Holding Co.
âThis is indoor entertainment with a community feel to it,â said Andrea OâConnell. âThereâs really nothing to do at night, especially for teenagers. This will help provide a little more of a sense of community.â
When the project is done, perhaps as early as a year from now (September 2013), the Rock ânâ Bowl will have bowling lanes, golf simulator bays, and perhaps a âLaser Mazeâ room.
Laser Maze is a game similar to the scenes shot for the movie âOceans Twelve,â in which players must negotiate a series of laser beams without breaking through one of the beams.
It is undergoing a craze-level popularity at suburban indoor facilities, military bases, and academic settings such as the University of Arizona.
âMost of all,â she said, âit will be a safe hangout for kids.â
For the adults, beyond the bowling (yes, there will be league bowling), a snazzy, new restaurant will overlook the Sherwin Range, and have outdoor service in the warm months. The view also includes Mammoth Rock, the Mammoth Crest, and Mammoth Mountain.
The chef du cuisine is the respected Matt Eoff, who made the Convict Lake Resortâs kitchens sing.
As for golf, the simulator bays are just that: dial up a golf course of your choosing (Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, Torrey Pines, you name it) and play it. Golf lessons from the local pros are on tap, too.
Dan OâConnell said he got the idea for building a facility in 2008 when he began noticing the rise of high-tech bowling alleys on his own Southern California turf.
When he and Andrea moved to Mammoth in 2009, he scouted around and then drew a bead on the parcel of empty space between the Cast-Off and Southern California Edison buildings on Chateau Road, along Old Mammoth Road.
Until now, the townâs public works department has used that lot for snow storage during heavy winters.
The snow storage days are now gone though and OâConnell said he hopes general contractor Neubauer-Jennison will have footings in the ground and concrete poured. Once framing is up, workers can build throughout the winter, he said.
He also said he paid particularly close attention to hiring locally as much as possible.
Counting part-time positions, the OâConnells think they may employ as many as 50-53 people.
Behind the scenes, OâConnell said he is working with John Urdi at Mammoth Lakes Tourism and the marketing wonks at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to help promote the Rock ânâ Bowl as a visitorsâ amenity as well as a localsâ hangout.
And if dining, golf, bowling and Laser Maze donât trip your trigger, how about horseshoe pits in back? That would get Andreaâs vote. Or bocce ball courts? That would get Danâs vote.
The way things are going, itâs more a question of âwhy not?â rather than âwhy?â