Cary News

TopGolf no longer pursuing Cary Towne Center plans

TopGolf has decided not to open its first North Carolina location at Cary Towne Center due to noise and lighting concerns from residents who live adjacent to the Cary mall, a TopGolf spokeswoman said Monday.

Adrienne Chance, TopGolf’s director of corporate communications, said TopGolf no longer would pursue opening its elaborate entertainment and restaurant complex in the mall spot formerly occupied by Sears, a longtime tenant of the mall that closed earlier this year.

“As we were testing during due diligence, we became concerned about our ability to sufficiently mitigate the lighting and noise issues for the local neighborhood,” Chance said in an email. “The last thing we want is to be a nuisance to the people living close to one of our locations.”

Mall owners CBL & Associates Properties Inc., Cary leaders and other proponents had hoped TopGolf would help in efforts to revitalize the mall. CBL & Associates representatives could not be reached for comment Monday.

The project from the Texas-based company was first announced eight months ago.

While Chance said TopGolf is still “highly interested” in the Cary market, she said she’s not able to confirm any new potential locations.

TopGolf’s decision follows a public hearing in front of the Town Council as well as a unanimous decision by Cary’s Planning and Zoning Board in May to recommend that the Cary Town Council approve the mall’s request to allow 60-foot buildings on the northeastern part of the property.

Now, town rules limit mall buildings to two stories, but CBL & Associates sought to amend the rule, which would have allowed TopGolf to build one of its three-story complexes.

To make way for the complex, the Sears building likely would have been demolished, and the property would have needed to be rezoned to build TopGolf’s standard three-story, 65,000-square-foot facility that includes a driving range, restaurant, bar and lounge.

Officials found that a 60-foot building would be 6 feet taller than the 54-foot-tall Dillard’s department store, which is Cary Towne Center’s tallest building.

Almost 20 people spoke in May at the planning and zoning board meeting, with residents divided about the development. Opponents said the view of the building through their backyard could hurt their property value. They had filed a protest petition against the request.

Now that TopGolf is no longer interested in the mall site, Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said Monday that CBL & Associates is discussing redevelopment at the mall site.

“If they do that, it could be anything from retail to office space to residential or all of the above, and I think that’s what they’re planning is a mix of uses,” he said.

But Cary Senior Planner Mary Beerman said Monday that CBL & Associates had not withdrawn the rezoning application for the building height change. She said if mall management decides to move forward with rezoning, it would go before the Cary Town Council for approval about a month later.

TopGolf has 16 locations in the United States and three in the United Kingdom with plans to open 11 more by the end of the year. At the facility, customers can hit microchipped balls at modernized greens in the outfield that track where a ball lands.

Trogdon: 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon