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Topgolf to finalize land buy on Universal Boulevard, break ground in November

A look inside the driving range area from Topgolf in Tampa, which opened in late 2014.
A look inside the driving range area from Topgolf in Tampa, which opened in late 2014. (Topgolf)

Dallas-based Topgolf should break ground in early November on its 65,000-square-foot golf attraction on Universal Boulevard, a projected $20 million investment that will be the first major development amidst hundreds of green acres along Universal primed for acquisition within the next few years.

"We'll have a captive, golf-oriented market, the second largest convention center in the country right across the street, and I-Drive heating up like none other," Topgolf development manager Ted Heilbron told GrowthSpotter. "A lot of synergies are lining up to really like that location on Universal Boulevard."

GrowthSpotter reported on Sept. 10 that Topgolf and Georgia-based Andretti Indoor Karting & Games were in advanced planning to develop neighboring attractions on Universal Boulevard on more than 20 acres, northwest of the Orange County Convention Center and just before Pointe Plaza Avenue.

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Topgolf is under contract to buy an 11.83-acre lot from more than 75 acres across three parcels owned by Orlando Equity Partners, an LLC affiliated with Stan Thomas' Southwood Development Co. of Atlanta. Heilbron said the company will close on the property concurrently with groundbreaking, with closing tied to plat approvals.

Topgolf's Development Plan (DP) was approved Wednesday by Orange County's Development Review Committee. The company has already submitted building permit applications for the property, which county staff are current processing.

Heilbron said Topgolf hopes to break ground in early November, and projects a 10-month construction process to put them on pace for opening the attraction in late Summer 2016.

General contractor on the project is Arco/Murray and the architect is Aria Group, both firms from suburban Chicago that have contributed to the majority of Topgolf's developments in the United States.

This home-stretch of pre-construction approval with the county culminates more than two years of site selection by Topgolf in Orlando. Heilbron said the company looked closely at two other sites along Universal Boulevard, including one adjacent to the Orlando Eye observation wheel.

Topgolf is excited about the growth potential of undeveloped land along Universal Boulevard around its future site, but the attraction doesn't need dense retail around it to succeed early, Heilbron said. The company expects 400,000 to 450,000 visitors to the facility annually, and will employ around 450 people.

Topgolf got its start in Great Britain, and now has 19 locations in the United States, three in Britain, and opened its first Florida site in Tampa in December 2014.

Described as a hybrid of Dave & Buster's and golf, Topgolf's balls with microchips can be hit from the driving range into colored, glowing holes that tally points for the player based on distance and accuracy. Groups of up to six can compete in seven different games that involve driving distance, chipping accuracy and more niche challenges from golf.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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