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Charlotte got NC’s first TopGolf. Is one still coming to the Triangle?

TopGolf, a Texas-based company, builds elaborate golf-themed entertainment complexes, such as this one in The Colony, Texas. North Carolina’s first location opened in June, but the company has yet to commit to a specific site in the Triangle.
TopGolf, a Texas-based company, builds elaborate golf-themed entertainment complexes, such as this one in The Colony, Texas. North Carolina’s first location opened in June, but the company has yet to commit to a specific site in the Triangle. Courtesy of TopGolf

TopGolf opened its first North Carolina location in Charlotte last month, but the company still hasn’t committed to a site in the Triangle after eyeing the region for more than two years.

The Texas-based company has inquired about at least three sites in Research Triangle Park and Cary to build a golf-themed entertainment complex, according to Durham and Cary staff.

Most recently, TopGolf submitted a site plan to the Durham City-County Planning Department last summer for a 64,000-square-foot, three-story driving range off of Park Offices Drive near Interstate 40.

The site is expected to be part of an effort by Research Triangle Foundation, the nonprofit that manages the park, to redevelop Park Center, an aging office park at N.C. 54 and Davis Drive.

Durham staff issued minor comments on the site plan, which is typical, said Patrick Young, the department’s director. But TopGolf has not responded since late September to the comments.

“As such, no approval has been granted,” Young said in an email.

TopGolf spokeswoman Adrienne Chance said in an email Thursday that the company is still looking at site options in the Raleigh, Cary and Durham areas.

The company has 30 locations in the United States and three in the United Kingdom, and 14 more are coming soon to the U.S., Australia and Mexico. Visitors can hit micro-chipped balls at modernized greens that track where the balls land.

TopGolf opened in Charlotte in June near Arrowood Road and Interstate 485. It announced it would open a second location in Charlotte but decided to halt plans to evaluate alternative options.

Chance said the company is “still focused on bringing a second venue to the north Charlotte market.”

If TopGolf comes to the Triangle, it may not be the first golf entertainment complex. Drive Shack recently announced its plans to open a similar venue in west Raleigh on Corporate Center Drive near Interstate 40, less than a mile from PNC Arena.

Chance said Drive Shack will not play a role in TopGolf’s decision to come to the Triangle.

“We are committed to finding the right location that will serve the community for many years to come,” she said.

TopGolf’s interest in the Triangle first became known in December 2014, when the company announced its intent to open at the vacant Cary Towne Center space formerly occupied by Sears. But residents who live near the mall had concerns about noise and lighting, prompting the company to switch gears.

After rejecting the Cary Towne Center location, TopGolf representatives met with Cary staff in December 2015 to discuss building on 18.56 acres on Piney Plains Road, near Dillard Drive.

Last summer, Cary planning manager Rob Wilson said a TopGolf official contacted staff to inform them that “after considering circumstances and uncertainty with adjacent property owners,” the company had decided to pursue another site in Durham County.

“I do not know what the issues were that led them to move away from the (Cary Crossroads) site,” Wilson said. “It looked to staff like we were making progress, but I know they were also trying to coordinate with a neighboring property owner.”

TopGolf has not inquired about any Cary location since then, Wilson said.

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon

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