Preservation of our historic buildings, including Googie-style buildings from the mid-century, can be a huge challenge/ The need for housing in Los Angeles may also worsen the problem. If it were not for architectural preservationists like Adriene Biondo, who has worked successfully on many of these projects, most of these iconic buildings would have been lost forever. In this case, Trumark Homes, the project applicant, is adaptively reusing a portion of the Covina Bowl Building. The company will be incorporating 132 multi-family townhomes with commercial/retail/office uses in the former bowling alley.
In March 2021, the Covina City Council approved their redevelopment, and demo and construction have begun.
Although the bowling alley itself has been razed, key architectural elements will remain. According to Adriene Biondo, adaptive re-use of these elements will include: a full restoration of Covina Bowl’s neon sign, a reproduction of the 1955 neon script lettering that originally read “Covina,” which will replace the backlit plastic boomerang ‘C’ that was added in the 60s, restoration of the pyramid entry and coffee shop, and adding a lawn bowling feature as a nod to the bowling lanes that were there for over six decades.
The LA Beat’s own Nikki Kreuzer states, “The Covina Bowl…stands on San Bernardino Road in West Covina, though it was closed down in 2017. Built in 1956, this A-frame Googie-style bowling alley was designed by the Long Beach firm Powers, Daly, and DeRosa. This architectural group was responsible for designing about 50 bowling alleys throughout California from the mid-’50s to the early 1960s.”
Author, Editor and Preservationist, Chris Nichols, was invited to see the progress on the Covina Bowl project last week. He reports, “The major character-defining features are being retained and the developer hopes to get a restaurant tenant for the coffee shop. (Maybe you know someone with a catering outfit or some operation that needs a huge kitchen.) There is a full-time construction staff dedicated to the preservation and restoration part of the job. They have been salvaging materials that will be incorporated into the new construction…The pyramid entrance, the ankh shaped sign, the zigzag Porte cochere, the landscaping, the coffee shop, and the Pyramid Room nightclub are all being restored…This is probably as good as it gets in projects like this…”
Keep updated by joining Friends of the Covina Bowl.
Elise Thompson contributed to this post.