Minnesota golfers will be able to play year-round at planned TopGolf
A multimillion-dollar deal has been completed for the purchase of land in Brooklyn Center where a glitzy and high-tech all-season golf center is expected to open next year and start welcoming thousands of visitors and employing several hundred people.
The property had been home to the 20-screen Regal Cinemas until the last movie played at the end of last month. Tennessee-based Regal had been looking for a buyer for many months, according to Mayor Tim Willson.
Dallas-based Topgolf's purchase of the nearly 14-acre property, close to where Interstate 694 and Hwy. 252 intersect, was completed last week at a closing price of $5.6 million, according to real estate records.
Willson said Thursday that "deconstruction" work on the site should start next week and the center's opening to follow in "the fall of 2018 or so, we are being told. But could change."
Such an attraction should give a boost to public perception of Brooklyn Center, an inner-ring suburb bordering Minneapolis that has "definitely had an image issue that goes back 10-12 years" of being dogged by crime, Willson said.
"We've turned the city around," the mayor said. "Yeah, we have some crime, but so does everybody."
Willson said he's confident that Topgolf will be a "major destination point [that's] going to draw from all across the metro."
Topgolf has more than 30 locations elsewhere around the country that offer multilevel hitting bays with balls tracked by data-absorbing microchips.
"Topgolf should be a hit in Minneapolis and should help the image of Brooklyn Center," said Greg Owens, who lives to the north in Brooklyn Park. "We visited a location in Naperville [Ill.] last spring and had a blast."
Willson said Topgolf is expected to employ more than 475 people. When the company announced in February that it was opening its 32nd center in Fort Worth, Texas, this spring, it put out a call for applicants for roughly 500 jobs to staff the 65,000-square-foot location.
Topgolf said in a site plan filed with Brooklyn Center that the center will have 102 multiplayer bays, 11 exterior targets, 270 flat-screen televisions, a 50-table restaurant, a 3,000-square-foot terrace and another 3,000 square feet for hosting private gatherings.
Topgolf said its centers have drawn more than 10 million customer visits annually, prompting the company to lay claim to being "the world's largest digital golf audience." Their centers also serve food and alcohol, and are outfitted with pool tables and other recreational games.
Topgolf operating hours run as late as midnight during the week and 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings year-round.
Minnesota has long ranked near the top nationally in number of golfers per capita, subzero winters notwithstanding. Roughly 400 courses in the state are registered with the Minnesota Golf Association, which says it has 66,000 individual members.
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