Robin Hood Lanes to be replaced with a Walgreens?


Word came from Edmonds Economic Development Director Stephen Clifton Tuesday that Walgreens has applied for a permit to build a new store on Edmonds Way and 100th Avenue West, on the property that is currently home to Edmonds bowling alley Robin Hood Lanes.

Does this mean the demise of the neighborhood gathering place that has stood in Edmonds since 1960? Rhune Harkestad of Kidder Matthews, who is representing San Francisco-based property developer Seven Hills, said that will be the case, assuming the city approves the permit — a process that is likely to take four to six  months.

Architect's drawings of the proposed Walgreens.

The project is now is in the “due diligence” phase, but the only thing that could stop it at this point, Harkestad says, is if an environmental issue is discovered. A bank is also scheduled to be on the property but Harkestad didn’t know the bank’s name.

Robin Hood Lanes owner Mike Gubsch, contacted by My Edmonds News on Tuesday, said he knew that there had been discussions about purchasing the property, but wasn’t aware that Walgreens had applied for a permit. According to Gubsch, the land is owned by an Edmonds family while the Robin Hood Lanes building is owned by John Gunther, who used to own the bowling alley. Gubsch said that he and Gunther had been trying to buy the land but the family was unwilling to sell.

Harkestad said that the property owners’ lease with Gunther has a provision that allows them to break the lease when the land is sold.

Assuming the city approves the permit, the bowling alley would be razed and construction would begin in late summer 2012 and the Walgreens would be open for business by February 2013 at the earliest, Harkestad said.

As for Gubsch, who also owns West Seattle Bowl, he said it’s unlikely he’ll find affordable property in Edmonds where he can relocate, but he may end up in North Seattle, where he is looking at property.

“We want to stay. We want to be here,” Gubsch said.



  1. Our family LOVES Robin Hood Lanes. Wonder why the property owners wouldn’t sell to put a Walgreens across the street from Bartell’s. And another bank. Really? Does Edmonds need another bank?

    We are trying to grow our City into a community that is family friendly, but the options for foul weather family activities just got a little bit shorter after this news. Maybe the new bank will send my 7-year-old another pre-approved credit card to make up for it.

  2. *excuse my typos… cursed touchpad! What I meant to say was, I wonder why the owners wouldn’t sell to Mike Gubsch, but now seem eager to sell to put a Walgreens across from Bartell’s.

  3. Said it on facebook and will say it again here, I would rather live near a bowling alley than a Walgreens. Walgreens are a dime a dozen and are completely interchangeable with Bartells or Rite Aid. Redevelopment should mean bringing new types of business into an area. Or revitalizing the businesses that have been area mainstays for decades. Bowling is awesome. Bartells gets the job done. I think Walgreens would be a useless addition to the neighborhood.

  4. This would be a tragedy for the sport. Not to mention the youth bowlers who fill the house on saturday mornings. Do we need another walgreens , is that corner not congested enough already?

  5. Losing the only bowling alley in town is a loss for many. Fortunately the Family Fun Park is available as is WhirlyBall both off of 99. But they too could be subject to leaving if development occurs on those sites. And that’s exactly what happens with Edmonds recreation money when we lose these assets, it leaves town. Being the few year round family rec sites, we should value them more and keep that money here.

  6. It makes no sense. We manufacture programs to try and get kids to exercise, but we eliminate places for them to go to be active in favor of another commercial property.

  7. The loss of another Edmonds sports venue for families, is sad. Maybe it’s time for the City to have another look at saving the 5.5-acres in SW Edmonds that slipped through its fingers when it bought land for Hickman Park. The land, adjacent to Hickman Park, has a full-size soccer field, baseball diamond and dog walking meadow. Otherwise, this once-heavily used exercise space will eventually be covered with two dozen Walgreen-type houses. In today’s economy, the land might be available for less than the builder paid for it. If there are any altruistic lovers of baseball, soccer and/or dogs interested in investigating this idea, encourage them to contact me at

  8. Losing an icon family sports facility Robin Hood Lanes for a Walgreens and another possible bank? Bartells is already there doing a nice job.

    Very sad, someone should feel ashamed!

  9. I, for one will not shop there. We do NOT need another Walgreens.!!! We DO need to keep a place like Robin
    Hood Lanes for our kids to go and enjoy themselves. If Edmonds Eeconomic Development is making this decision and allowing the permit….SHAME, SHAME, SHAME

  10. Seems to me they could develop the huge parking lot into a Walgreens and leave the bowling alley alone. In Seattle they have elevated parking side by side with retail to make best use of the land. It’s an opportunity for the City of Edmonds to think beyond the miles of parking and go vertical.

  11. This is not good planning, nor a good idea. I am also a proponent of development
    but doubt that Walgreens and Bartells can co exist in such close proximity. I will continue to shop at Bartells.

  12. So much for the successful redevelopment of Westgate – two more banks and another pharmacy! We need the bowling alley and the service station more than a pharmacy and a bank. Bartells meets or exceeds all of our expectations, so they will not lose us as constant customers. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there’s very little the city can do about any of this. Perhaps the corporate people of Walgreens need to be acquainted with what’s being written about them on this site.

  13. Unfortunately, community bowling alleys are disappearing quite rapidly. I’d be willing to bet that if the owners of Robin Hood Lanes had the customer base and generated enough business we wouldn’t even be having this discussion right now. I’m not a big fan of Walgreens and think we need one of these like we need a hole in the head. The bottom line is to support the local businesses.
    I worked for my family’s business for many years and we consistantly supported many community activities throughout the years, and the community always supported us. But the only time I ever saw some of these people in our store was the next time they wanted us to participate.
    Look around, where are our grocery, entertainment, recreation, restaurant dollars going? Are we all doing our part to support our community? My guess is that we all could do better, and if we don’t, you will see more local institutions like Robin Hood Lanes fall victim to some big corporate chains.

  14. Like the other posters, I am very, very sorry to see this. I think Robin Hood is the last bowling center in Seattle with real wooden lanes – Leilani and Sunset also had them but are gone. If you go to RH any league night, you’ll see the place packed, so I don’t think they lack support. Furthermore, Mike and the staff are great supporters of local businesses and organizations.
    But as much as I regret this, and as pointless as I think another drug store and bank are in that area, I don’t see it as the city’s job to tell the land owners they can’t sell it – aside from zoning for commercial use or not. I just don’t understand why they didn’t sell it to Mike and the Lanes.

  15. Have lived in Edmonds most of my life. We don’t want or need a Walgreen’s in Edmonds! Isn’t there one on about 212th & Hwy 99? We have a Bartell’s and are perfectly happy with it!! Where are we suppose to bowl? Wonderful childhood fun, especially because it rains so much! Love Mike & Charlie at Robinhood Lanes…..lets all figure out how to fight this!

  16. A business decision that reflects the chaos in the healthcare industry which the public pays for, time and again. As to this bringing any ‘new money’ to Edmonds, probably not much as consumers will likely move from one pharmacy to this one. We live by the high school and w/in a 1/2 mile can go to any of 5 pharmacies…so what’s the business need that leads to selling the land and closing the valued business? Time for a redo with the public involved.

  17. This would be a sad loss in our community. We have the pharmacy at qfc and bartells, and just a little ways up the hill safeway pharmacy, Costco etc.. My family has bowled at RHL for many years. It is also my second source of income which is greatly needed when trying to raise two kids and put them through college. It has been a great place to continually meet new friends and form strong bonds with the workers. Mike is a great person, and a strong leader to our youth. Mike and RHL are providing our children with a safe fun environment. Please don’t take that away.

  18. Re. a bowling alley in the old Safeway building, what a brilliant idea.

    A skating rink (roller or ice) would be popular, too. We need to boost opportunities for indoor recreation. Personally, I love tennis at Harbor Square, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and young people need to be more physically active, so I’d love to see a skating rink there.

  19. Edmonds is managing to lose, piece by piece, what has given it personality all these years. Replacing landmarks in the name of corporate progress will make us just another strip mall town–albeit one with a view. (If you can see around all the condos downtown.) How about if they put Walgreens in Old Milltown–it’s vacant.

  20. WHO WANTS TO HELP SAVE ROBINHOOD LANES? PLEASE READ AND RESPOND! I have lived in Edmonds most of my life. I personally do not want to see Walgreens replace Robinhood Lanes. I bowl a league on Tuesday nights. It is packed, recently updated and great family fun! I am putting together a contact list of those opposed. Please either “friend” me on facebook to receive updated information, provide me with your email/contact info, or follow comments on this website. The first step in fighting city hall is to notify them of your interest so they will notify you of upcoming public hearings on the matter. This I have done but the larger their list….the better. IF YOU HAVE TIME, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO, attn: Kernen Lien. ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY IS THAT YOU WANT TO BE A “PARTY OF RECORD” ON THIS ISSUE. I already know there is a huge neighborhood support to save Robinhood Lanes. Once I have gathered contact info and teamed up with others doing the same, we will put together a game plan. Please also review http://www.ehow_2000966_city-hall-increase-chances-winning.html to see the battle ahead of us.

  21. My friend James just bowled his career best 208 there two weeks ago. He’s going to be peeved that the place will be a Walgreens before Robin Hood has a chance to commemorate his achievement with a giant plaque.

  22. This project includes three applications: Design Review (PLN20110076) for the structures, Conditional Use Permit for the drive-thru (PLN20110077), and a short plat (PLN20110078). The three applications will be consolidated under the conditional use permit and the Hearing Examiner will make the decision on the applications.

    I have uploaded the application materials under the Conditional Permit Number (PLN20110077) on the City’s online permit site located at the link below:

    There will be plenty of opportunity to comment on the application. There will be a comment period for SEPA review, a public meeting before the Architectural Design Board, and a public hearing before the Hearing Examiner. If you would like to become a party of record on this proposal, please review Edmonds Community Development Code (ECDC) 20.07.003 for what it takes to become a party of record.

    The proposals are in the completeness review phase and the official comment periods will not begin until after the first of the year. Notices will be posted at the site, on the City’s Website, mailed to property owners within 300 feet, and published in the Everett Herald. Comments can be mailed to my attention at Planning Division, 121 5th Ave N, Edmonds, WA 98020 or emailed to

    Kernen Lien
    City of Edmonds
    Associate Planner

  23. Kernen:

    Thanks very much for responding to this issue. You have described how citizens can get involved, but isn’t it true that the property zoning will allow a pharmacy to be placed there? So, if I’m right, citizens should know that there’s a limited amount that they’ll be able to influence.

  24. @Darrol – not sure why it won’t come up. Try google: how to fight city hall and win
    @Ron – I sure hope there is some chance of avoiding $$$ pharmacy taking over our family fun! There is a TON of people who support keeping Robinhood Lanes and who DO NOT want a Walgreens in its place! Why is our world turning into this right before our very eyes! When $$$ speaks over our family/community?…and we who have lived here our entire lives and are now raising our children here have no say?! I will do everything I can to avoid tearing down a 50 year establishment that is doing plenty of business and provides people of ALL ages fun!!! Nothing against Walgreens but there is one down the street….come on, really?

  25. Another pharmacy? We have one at Bartell and one at QFC. Why do we need a third one at that intersection? How about a youth activity center? Or a gym?

  26. @Ted and Michael – We have a Vision Quest on 5 corners, Harbor Square and another small facility downtown. I’m sure I’m missing a few but I don’t think we need another gym. Do you not bowl? The bowling alley is packed with leagues all week! Hundreds of us go there weekly! I have bowled on a team with a man who is in his 80s and still bowling! And there are lots of those :). My friend’s son, who is 6, bowls on a weekend league! The closest bowling alley is in Richmond Beach but it is 1/2 the size. I do appreciate your support that we do not need a Walgreens :)!

  27. Ron,

    You are correct. If the zoning allows for a certain type of business and an applicant applies for that, the City cannot just deny it because it would like to see something else. As a planner, all I can do is objectively evaluate the application to ensure that it complies with the City’s Comprehensive Plan, zoning and development regulations.


  28. Teri:

    The question is, why is the bowling alley being sold? I can only assume that it must not be achieving a satisfactory level of profit. Or, Walgreens has offered to purchase the property at a price in excess of its market value. When you don’t own the property, it is almost impossible to control what purpose it is used for. Walgreens will just have to comply with the existing code. I’m with you, I’d like to see the bowling alley remain.

  29. I have bowled at robinhood lanes for many years and know John G. and his family and Mike Gubich and Charlie for many years and was in the business for many years. Like all bowling centers that have closed over the years the land became to valuable to remain as a bowling center. I am shure this has not come as a shock to John and Mike. It will be missed

  30. @Ron – I understand that John and Mike who own the building offerred to purchase the property from the land owners. So Walgreens comes in and offers a higher price? Exactly what I said earlier….we are going to stand back and watch the $$$$ take over our community! Edmonds does not need a Walgreens!! Many people oppose this! There has got to be some kind of recourse!
    @Kernen – So we are past the selling process and permits is all that is left? What’s it gonna take? The Edmonds community has got to have some say in this! Did it require the mayors signature? If I get a million supporters to agree to keep the bowling alley and maybe somebody comes up with more money….what? 🙁

  31. Wow. For this to happen the people who own the property have to sell. Money talks. If you don’t want Walgreens, don’t shop there. Perhaps it will be not be profitable there and they will close and then someone else with some money can bring back a bowling alley. But consider that Walgreens wouldn’t have wanted the location unless they would make a profit. This also profits the city by increasing the tax revenues garnered, perhaps. From what has been predicted the City of Edmonds needs it. You can’t have fun and games unless you have a way to pay for it.

  32. As a young person who grew up in Edmonds, it’s my opinion that the city is not at all family friendly and there are very few activities for young people and families to do. One of the most popular things for my friends and I to do in recent years was meet up and go bowling at Robin Hood Lanes. With the loss of this, the number of indoor “things to do” for young people in Edmonds gets very close to zero. If we want to attract families and younger people to the city, things like this can’t happen.

  33. I was sad to hear they want to put a Walgreens in. I used to live in Edmonds for 19 yrs. I work in Edmonds for the district going on 14 yrs. My kids who are now adults had birthday parties there and went to parties there. We do not need Walgreens when there is a Bartells right across the street and a Walgreens not to far from there. It seems we need activities to keep kids as well as adults connecting with each other. You can’t find that in another store. They have many events always going on for every age there, all year long. Lets keep the bowling alley.

  34. I have lived in Edmonds my whole, well almost my whole life I left home at 18 and joined the United States Army, and have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2005. I was the boys bowling varsity captain my senior year in high school at Edmonds Woodway, each time I come home from deployment I look forward to spending some of my leave at robin hood lanes, bowling with my sister who also bowls on the high school team. Losing this outstanding establishment to our community would be a tremendous loss. There have been many kids, adults AND families of this community that have invested a lot of time here, and it would be terribly unfair to the people of Edmonds to lose a great local business to another nation wide chain. I for one will be very disappointed to lose such a wonderful piece of our community, that I myself look forward to enjoying every time I come home.


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