The Aloha Roller Skating rink at Bay Street has abruptly closed after being open for less than two weeks. No reasons were given but the closure followed an incident on Sunday, February 20 where a large group of fighting juveniles outside the center led to a large response by the Emeryville Police Department and neighboring agencies.
“Despite beginning this venture with the highest aspirations, we are sad to announce the closure of Aloha Fun Emeryville effectively immediately,” they shared in an Instagram post announcing their permanent closure.
Their grand opening was less than two weeks ago on February 12. Aloha also operates rinks at the Eastridge Mall in San Jose as well as Santa Barbara.
The “pop up” rink at the former Old Navy space was scheduled to run through at least the end of March when the building would then be demolished to make way for a grocery store (pending final approval). The highly-anticipated recreational rink seemed popular with many describing “lines out the door.”
What sparked the incident is unclear but witnesses described a large gathering of juveniles outside the venue in the plaza area of the shopping center. Estimates of the number of youth involved ranged from fifty to “hundreds” and as many as 30 responding police officers.
“I was outside of there on Sunday night and a fight broke out with like hundreds of teenagers running from it and just idling outside,” described one resident who reached out to us. “Like 8 cop cars were there just stationed.”
One witness reported that EPD and adjoining officers were able to corral the juveniles by pushing them back towards the roller rink.
The Emeryville Police provided the above press release in response to our inquiry noting they enlisted the assistance of two neighboring law enforcement agencies to help disperse the large crowds.
They also provided that this was the second such incident in two weeks that required their response. “Over the past two weeks that Aloha Skate Rink has been open, EPD has responded to two calls for service and three extra patrol incidents at the business.”
Bay Street property owners CenterCal Properties provided the following statement in regards the incident that suggested containing the crowds proved challenging. “CenterCal expects all tenants to follow the city of Emeryville’s occupancy requirements as determined by the fire department and wants to see all Bay Street Emeryville businesses remain open and safely operational. We abide by all local regulations to ensure all requirements are met on the properties we manage.”
A twitter user posted a video that captured the aftermath of the melee but noted that she did not personally shoot the video.
Then we stayed like maybe 20 mins and we left. My homeboy sent me a video this morning. I just knew it always follow your first mind. pic.twitter.com/gqPbnJlEWV
— M Dub (@Jwalkin42) February 21, 2022
KMEL radio DJ “DC” expressed his disappointment with the closure of the venue and the behavior of the juveniles in a Twitter thread. “All we wanted was a skating rink all damn pandemic & we get one & y’all gonna go and (redacted) it all up…”
The morning show at the station discussed the incident in this morning’s program. “Apparently there’s been a whole bunch of young folks who went over there especially last weekend and just created mayhem and fighting and things like that out there at [Bay Street]. As far as I heard was that they were pressured to close by some different folks that own business and also people that live in the area.”
Y’all really got Aloha Skate Center in Emeryville shut down after ONE MONTH.
All we wanted was a skating rink all damn pandemic & we get one & y’all gonna go and (redacted) it all up… pic.twitter.com/mQWhGcNdMk
— Tom Brazy (@DCisChillin) February 23, 2022
Aloha’s Instagram post has garnered over 700 comments ranging from appreciation for their efforts and their brief time in business … to anger at the group of juveniles that presumably led to their closure.
Bay Street has suffered from other instances of large gatherings of youth including a series of brawls that temporarily shut the center down twice in 2020 as well as a high-profile incident in 2019 captured on surveillance where an off-duty officer was beaten unconscious.