Cary News

TopGolf looking at RTP site after moving past Cary

TopGolf, a Texas-based company, builds elaborate golf-themed entertainment complexes, such as this one in The Colony, Texas. After looking in Cary at two sites, the company has decided to build elsewhere in the Triangle, according to Town of Cary staff.
TopGolf, a Texas-based company, builds elaborate golf-themed entertainment complexes, such as this one in The Colony, Texas. After looking in Cary at two sites, the company has decided to build elsewhere in the Triangle, according to Town of Cary staff. COURTESY OF TOPGOLF

TopGolf is considering bringing its golf-themed entertainment complex as part of a major Research Triangle Park redevelopment project after deciding to stop pursuing two sites in Cary, said Durham and Cary staff.

“It’s not going to be in Cary, at least not at this time,” said Rob Wilson, a planning manager with the Town of Cary.

TopGolf, a Texas-based company, had been looking to bring its first Triangle location to a site in Cary Crossroads after a plan for Cary Towne Center was abandoned last year following resident concerns.

The company has since been inquiring about a spot in RTP’s Park Center, said Steve Medlin, director of Durham’s City-County Planning Department. The Research Triangle Foundation, the non-profit that manages the park, began moving ahead with the first phase of redevelopment of Park Center, an aging office park at N.C. 54 and Davis Drive, earlier this year. The project will add retail and residential development, as well as public parks and an outdoor amphitheater.

“We, too, have been approached about potential sites, but nothing concrete has actually come in yet,” Medlin said. “We are anticipating there may be a potential application in the next few months.”

TopGolf representatives could not be reached for comment.

The company has 23 locations in the United States and three in the United Kingdom with plans to open 10 more by 2017, including in Charlotte. Visitors can hit microchipped balls at modernized greens in the outfield that track where a ball lands.

After rejecting the Cary Towne Center location, TopGolf representatives met with Cary staff four months later in December to discuss building on 18.56 acres on Piney Plains Road, near the Dillard Drive intersection, and backed up to U.S. 1.

If TopGolf had decided to move forward, the company would have needed to submit a rezoning application.

But Wilson said Ted Heilbron, TopGolf’s director of real estate development, contacted staff in May 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,” he 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 may have been considering several workable sites and had to choose only one to move forward with, Wilson said. He added that he was not aware of any other sites the company is considering in Cary at this time.

“I think they are missing an opportunity,” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said Thursday. “I think our demographics would support them in Cary. We have premier golf courses in Cary, so the golfers are in Cary.”

He said he would still be interested in seeing a TopGolf location open in Cary in the future.

TopGolf had been looking at Cary since at least December 2014, when the company announced its intent to open at the mall location formerly occupied by Sears, a longtime tenant of the mall that had closed.

But residents who live near the mall had noise and lighting concerns, prompting the company to switch gears.

“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,” said Adrienne Chance, TopGolf’s director of corporate communication, in August. “The last thing we want is to be a nuisance to the people living close to one of our locations.”

TopGolf announced in May that it would open its first North Carolina location in Charlotte near Arrowood Road and Interstate 485 in early 2017.

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon

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