'Rock 'n' Bowl' breaks ground on Old Mammoth Road

The first new “community” project since the construction of The Village broke ground Tuesday.

It is the Mammoth Rock ‘N’ Bowl, a two-level entertainment/dining facility pushed forward by Mammoth attorney and developer Dan O’Connell and his wife, Andrea, and others in the Mammoth Rock Holding Co.

“This is indoor entertainment with a community feel to it,” said Andrea O’Connell. “There’s really nothing to do at night, especially for teenagers. This will help provide a little more of a sense of community.”

When the project is done, perhaps as early as a year from now (September 2013), the Rock ‘n’ Bowl will have bowling lanes, golf simulator bays, and perhaps a “Laser Maze” room.

Laser Maze is a game similar to the scenes shot for the movie “Oceans Twelve,” 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.

“Most of all,” she said, “it will be a safe hangout for kids.”

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 Resort’s 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 O’Connell 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 town’s public works department has used that lot for snow storage during heavy winters.

The snow storage days are now gone though and O’Connell 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 O’Connells think they may employ as many as 50-53 people.

Behind the scenes, O’Connell 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 ‘n’ Bowl as a visitors’ amenity as well as a locals’ hangout.

And if dining, golf, bowling and Laser Maze don’t trip your trigger, how about horseshoe pits in back? That would get Andrea’s vote. Or bocce ball courts? That would get Dan’s vote.

Or both?

The way things are going, it’s more a question of “why not?” rather than “why?”