While TopGolf cleared yet another hurdle Thursday, Oct. 17, in the company’s bid to open a location along Outlet Drive — as Farragut Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved its site plan — one official gave a “hopeful” construction start estimate.
According to Caroline Jerome, communications coordinator for TopGolf, “Right now we don’t have a final estimated construction timeline, but we’re hopeful for late 2020.”
Jerome also did not confirm a cost estimate of the project.
“At this time, there are several key milestones that need to occur before we can confirm such,” Jerome said.
The company, which currently has 57 locations open around the world, has additional venues under construction in the U.S., Dubai and Mexico.
Meanwhile, the site plan approval was just the latest step in a process that officially began earlier this year and led to the creation of a completely new Entertainment District for Farragut, where it is hoped the international sports entertainment complex would be the first of many attractions.
As approved, the two-tier 48,000-square foot building will front Outlet Drive, and be visible from Interstate 40.
Mark Shipley, Farragut Community Development director, confirmed the Visual Resources Review Board had approved TopGolf’s landscape plan in September, and the FMPC had approved its grading plan “two months ago.”
“They did a really good job with the plan,” Shipley added, noting only six items remained on the staff recommendations list, including a required $11,330 draining permit fee and a still -needed $101,500 erosion control letter of credit.
The list also noted a suggestion to submit final plans for retaining wall designs back to FMPC for approval in the future.
Todd Waldo, TopGolf representative who has been working with the Town throughout the process, was on hand for the Oct. 17 meeting, as was architect Rachel Bohac and civil engineer Rusty Baksa.
Waldo praised the “mayor, administration and staff for its high level of professionalism and expertise as we’ve navigated through this process.
“It has been a welcome change — we don’t experience this every where we go,” he said.
Waldo went on to ask if the retention wall plans “could be handled at the administrative level, rather than returning to the Planning Commission” once they are in hand, a request Commissioners agreed to honor.
“I have no problem with that,” said Commissioner and Farragut Vice Mayor Louise Povlin.
It is unclear what the next steps will be for the project.
Farragut Mayor Ron Williams said he and Town administrator David Smoak met with Waldo prior to the FMPC meeting.
“There are a lot of different things they have to go through,” including closing on the properties TopGolf has under contract along Outlet Drive, Williams said.
In addition to the acreage earmarked for TopGolf, its developer, RealtyLink, has previously revealed possible plans for at least one hotel and potentially a restaurant adjacent to the TopGolf property.
“I think in the spring they might start grading, once the thaw is done,” Williams added. “A lot of people start the grading now, but there is more to it — now is a bad time to get a quote to get any part of the construction work done — all the contractors are busy.
“It is why the quotes on the wall on Campbell Station Road came in so high.”