Kona Lanes' exterior in 2002
Kona Lanes opened in 1958, featuring the Tiki-inspired signage and architecture that became popular following
World War II,
[a] including what the
Los Angeles Times called its "flamboyant
neon lights and ostentatious
rooflines meant to attract motorists like moths".
 The building on
Harbor Boulevard near Adams Avenue was one of three in the Googie style that architects Powers, Daly, & DeRosa designed at around the same time; Kona Lanes and its sister center, Java Lanes,
 used names that suggested
South Pacific island locales. Author Andrew Hurley called them "expensive and attractive buildings that screamed, 'Have fun here'", and Kona retained much of that atmosphere over the years. Its massive neon-lit street sign remained for the life of the building,
 and Kona was the only bowling establishment in the area to reject
automatic scoring equipment throughout its existence.
Kona Lanes hosted the Southern California
PBA Open twice in 1964;
Billy Hardwick won in April and Jerry Hale in December.
 Longtime general manager Dick Stoeffler,
[b] known at the time as the host of TV Bowling Tournament on
 finished third during the televised finals in his own building in December, behind Hale and Hardwick.
 When Stoeffler rolled back-to-back
300 games in one league session at Kona in 1968, he was one of only four men in the country to have managed the feat.
Champions who bowled at Kona Lanes during its 45-year history include three-time
Professional Bowlers Association Tour winner
 six-time male
Bowling Writers Association of America Bowler of the Year and future PBA Hall of Famer
 John Haveles, an
Orange County Bowling Hall of Fame inductee who began a stint as Kona's manager in 1974;
Michigan Women's Bowling Association Hall of Famer Cora Fiebig; two-time female BWAA Bowler of the Year Aleta Sill;
Barry Asher, the multiple PBA Tour champion and Hall of Fame inductee who later ran the
pro shop at Fountain Bowl in nearby
 Kona Lanes and
Tustin Lanes hosted nearly 10,000 teams of five players each taking part in the
United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships in 1986.
Under Dick Stoeffler's management, Kona Lanes kept busy 24 hours a day, which made him one of the most successful proprietors in the country. Stoeffler met his future wife there,
 and other couples had similar experiences.
[c] Kona was often so busy that customers had to make reservations to get a lane during open (non-league) bowling hours.
 At its peak, Kona Lanes averaged more than 80 lines on each of its 40 lanes.
Bowling as a participation sport flourished in the early 1960s,
 but its popularity was diluted due to overbuilding; the number of bowling alleys sanctioned by the then-
American Bowling Congress peaked at about 11,000 by mid-decade,
 and Kona was one of more than 30 in southern California alone. A decline in league bowling starting in the 1980s was also blamed for the downturn,
 but an
AMF Bowling official argued that the customer base remained steady because an increase in open bowling made up for fewer league bowlers.
Kona Lanes in 1960 (top) and in 2002
Jack Mann bought Kona Lanes in 1980 and re-branded it New Kona Lanes the following year.
 Mann's family owned several bowling centers in the region; he was behind the creation of Fountain Bowl in 1973 and the short-lived Regal Lanes in
Orange in 1974.
 He also owned Tustin Lanes before selling it to his youngest son, Alex.
[e] Mann bought Kona not because he loved bowling, but because it would continue to pay dividends if he was no longer able to work.
[f] He later sold Kona to his son Jack Jr.
The center's lounge, known as the Outrigger Room, hosted many local artists over the years. Jazz quintet The Redd Foxx Bbq released four songs recorded there, and Roscoe Holland recorded a set of eight live performances for his album Beyond the Reef.
In later years, much of the bowlers' area was taped off for rock concerts and weekend promotions like Club Crush, which proved popular among teenagers and also led to album recordings.
 The idea backfired at least once: Kona Lanes was hit with some negative publicity when a planned event featuring a local
punk rock group was shut down by the
Costa Mesa Police Department.
Decline and demolition
Kona Lanes continued to lose business to newer centers,
 despite efforts to appeal to a more diverse customer base by hosting local music acts, supporting a Polynesian-themed restaurant called Kona Korral,
 and promoting gimmicks like "nude bowling".
[h] Eventually, the property became more valuable than the business.
 The landowners,
C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, gave Jack Mann Jr. a choice: spend $10–20 million to update the center, or give it up. Mann chose the latter rather than spend such a sum on a site without a long-term lease.
Plans to build a
Kohl's department store on the site occupied by Kona Lanes and the already-closed
Edwards Cinema Center and
Ice Capades Chalet were approved by the city's planning commissioners, but they were met with resistance by neighbors who did not believe the store was a
good fit for the area.
 Then-mayor Karen Robinson complained that Costa Mesa's policy-makers were discarding recreation as part of the quality of residents' lives, and appealed the commissioners' decision in February 2003.
 The city council later rejected the proposal.
 The continuing efforts to
save Kona Lanes failed;
 it closed for good in May 2003 and was demolished soon after.
Rezoning and new use
acre parcel was
rezoned in 2010 for senior housing that was expected to provide a new customer base for the restaurants and retailers already in the area and for commercial developments still to come.
 The lot had sat unused for about ten years before construction on the 215-unit complex began;
 Azulón at Mesa Verde opened in 2014.
 Several dozen palm and eucalyptus trees were saved and replanted on the site.