Drive Shack leases Lake Nona land, awaits permits to break ground on golf facility

An updated rendering of what the Drive Shack attraction may look like in Lake Nona, from the company's Fourth Quarter 2016 investors report.
An updated rendering of what the Drive Shack attraction may look like in Lake Nona, from the company's Fourth Quarter 2016 investors report. (Drive Shack)

New York-based Drive Shack, Inc. is still waiting on multiple permit approvals to break ground in Lake Nona on its first interactive golf-themed dining and entertainment facility, but expects the project to cost up to $25 million and open within 12 months, company executives said Tuesday during an annual earnings call with investors.

To be located at 7675 Lake Nona Blvd., the three-story Drive Shack should total 66,000 square feet, with about 90 outdoor driving bays, a central bar, restaurant, retail shop, lounges and event space. It will be similar to Topgolf, which has an Orlando venue now under construction on Universal Boulevard.


First reported here last September, the project would occupy a 15-acre portion of 51.5 acres owned by Tavistock Development Company at the northwest quadrant of S.R. 417 and Lake Nona Boulevard. The company closed a ground lease with Tavistock late last year for the site.

Details on the developer's plans and partner for a new 15-acre entertainment complex, which would be one of this brand's first in the country.

Lake Nona will be the first location for Drive Shack, a sports entertainment venture announced by TaylorMade Golf Company in early 2016 with what was then commercial mortgage REIT Newcastle Investments Corporation.

On Jan. 1, Newcastle changed its name to Drive Shack, Inc., and converted to a leisure-focused C corporation. The company is now one of the nation's largest owners and operators of golf properties in the U.S., with 78 golf courses. It created a separate division to develop the Drive Shack entertainment centers, and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Site work is underway on the Lake Nona property, and pending permit approvals, construction is expected to begin sometime this Spring.

Three permit applications filed with the City of Orlando for construction plans (Nov. 28), infrastructure engineering (Jan. 13) and engineering (Feb. 7) of the Drive Shack building remain under review. The applicant has yet to respond to staff comments about missing information, or corrections needed to allow permit approval, according to city planning staff.

Insight on which company was the target of investment, and what the developer stands to gain.

Drive Shack executives said Tuesday the Lake Nona development should open within nine to 12 months, and cost between $15 million and $25 million to build.

The company is well-funded with $130 million in cash on its balance sheet, executives claimed. Officials with Drive Shack and Tavistock did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

TaylorMade is still strategically aligned with Drive Shack in developing the entertainment venues, executives said during the call, despite the golf equipment company no longer being mentioned as active in the project.

The company said it is also working through a pipeline of more than 25 potential sites nationwide for other Drive Shack developments.

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