Business

Drive Shack, a golf complex and restaurant, plans to open in Raleigh

A rendering of a Drive Shack facility. The company plans to build one on Corporate Center Drive in Raleigh near PNC Arena.
A rendering of a Drive Shack facility. The company plans to build one on Corporate Center Drive in Raleigh near PNC Arena. Courtesy of Drive Shack

The Triangle’s first interactive, golf-centric entertainment center is coming to West Raleigh.

Drive Shack, a newly formed company, recently got permission from the city to build a three-story sports and entertainment facility on Corporate Center Drive near Interstate 40. The site is less than a mile from Cardinal Gibbons High School and PNC Arena, home of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Drive Shack envisions a restaurant and bar with platforms on one side of the building where customers can hit golf balls at a driving range equipped with technology that tracks the balls and keeps score.

Fortress Investment Group, the New York-based parent company, is opening its first Drive Shack in Orlando, Fla., and the second in Richmond, Va., said spokeswoman Sarah Watterson. The facilities cost between $15 million and $20 million to build, she said.

Watterson declined to say whether the Raleigh facility will be North Carolina’s first. Documents on the company’s website show investors also see opportunities in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

Drive Shack included Raleigh among its first crop of target cities because the area is growing so quickly, Watterson said. Raleigh grew by 13 percent to 458,000 residents between 2000 and 2016, according to census data, and Wake County reached 1 million residents last year.

“We as a company target high-growth markets with an abundant population of millennials and families as well as a community with ample corporations,” Watterson said. “We believe the greater Raleigh market has all of those things.”

Documents filed with the city show the 65-acre site will have 400 parking spaces and the facility will have seating for 250 people.

The company isn’t ready to announce dates for the start of construction or grand opening, Watterson said. Once it’s open, the site is expected to employ more than 350 full- and part-time workers.

“We’re moving as quickly and thoughtfully as we can working alongside the officials,” she said.

Drive Shack’s announcement comes three years after Topgolf, a Texas-based company that builds elaborate driving range/restaurant complexes, announced its interest in building a facility near Cary Towne Center in western Wake County. Topgolf later abandoned those plans and recently said the company is exploring options near Research Triangle Park.

Drive Shack is designed to appeal to non-golfers as much as golfers, Watterson said. But Drive Shack and Topgolf are each partnering with traditional golf companies for equipment. Drive Shack partnered with TaylorMade, and Callaway is an investor in Topgolf.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht

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