TopGolf USA proposes entertainment venue for Dome ‘entertainment district’

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City of Tacoma’s vision for a vibrant entertainment district built around the Tacoma Dome has attracted the interest of a potential developer.

TopGolf USA, a Delaware-based developer of high-end, state-of-the-art, experiential golf entertainment venues, submitted a proposal on May 8 to the City addressing its plan for the 10.6-acre city-owned site located to the east of the Dome.

Topgolf proposes a three-story driving range, featuring more than 170 tables highlighted by a full-service restaurant and bar, and full-service food and beverage atop a rooftop terrace. The estimated project is in excess of $30 million. Topgolf executives expect the venue would attract more than 500,000 visitors annually and generate to the city and the region a residual financial impact of $264.5 million over a 10-year period.

Topgolf plans to fill more than 475 living-wage jobs, which will include 40 full-time salaried positions.

The company is backed by institutional and private investors, which include Callaway Golf Company. It operates 38 golf entertainment venues in the U.S. and three in London. Eleven venues are currently in construction with multiple more in development. Topgolf has global interests in Mexico, Canada, and Australia. Topgolf is a pioneer in a technology-based driving range, which caters to millennial-age golfers craving the physical and social culture missing from traditional golf. According to surveys, more than 50 percent of guests visiting Topgolf’s venues describe themselves as non-golfers. The venues, worldwide, entertain more than 13 million guests annually.

“Topgolf’s recreation use would serve as a valued amenity to the area, attracting both residents and tourists alike,” the application to the City stated. “Our brand recognition and high repeat customer percentage would serve as a catalyst to other attractions in the vicinity.”

Patricia Beard, City of Tacoma’s project lead, said the City is not ready to grant interviews or make formal statements regarding the proposal until the proposal review is further along.

“Over the next several days, city staff will be reviewing the proposal to determine whether we need more information or can respond to the proposal as submitted,” said Beard. “Our objective is to make a determination as to whether to negotiate with TopGolf within the next 30 days. We are delighted by TopGolf’s interest in Tacoma.”

Bruce Kendall, CEO at the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County, stated his organization would be delighted to see a Topgolf venue added to Tacoma’s entertainment options, should the City move forward with the proposal.

EDB spokeswoman Jenn Adrien said the venue would add to Tacoma’s and Pierce County’s already burgeoning tourism scene and what is already offered in the region to entice visitors.

Jaime Vogt, vice president at Travel Tacoma, said the Dome is already a great draw for visitors and adding more development around the Dome would certainly give visitors to the city attending a concert a reason to stay longer. According to Travel Tacoma, travel spending in Tacoma reached $530.7 million in 2017. Certainly a venue like Topgolf would only enhance the growth of more tourism spending in the city and the region.

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