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Topgolf could draw crowds to Tacoma Dome neighborhood

Golf amusement park proposed for Tacoma

Topgolf is the only company to take a swing at developing a nearly 11-acre parking lot next to the Tacoma Dome. The proposed $30 million development includes three stories of hitting bays.
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Topgolf is the only company to take a swing at developing a nearly 11-acre parking lot next to the Tacoma Dome. The proposed $30 million development includes three stories of hitting bays.

A golf-centric entertainment development costing more than $30 million next to the Tacoma Dome?

This isn't the staid, quiet sport you see on TV. It's Topgolf, a high-tech, fast-paced version of golf that Golf Digest called "the best way to enjoy golf while knowing nothing about it."

Players hit micro-chipped golf balls from hitting bays for a variety of different games that challenge beginners and veterans, according to Topgolf. Prices vary by location, but at the nearest, in Hillsboro, Oregon, it costs $45 an hour after 5 p.m. Each bay can accommodate six players.

The Dallas-based company has 41 locations worldwide and more than 13 million annual visitors. It has 11 outlets under construction and more in development.

In Tacoma, it's applied for a venue near the Dome on nearly 11 acres near Interstate 5. It predicts spending more than $30 million on what Dome officials said is a future entertainment district.

In March, the city requested bids from firms for the district, requiring at least $8 million for the land. Proposals had to include an $800,000 deposit.

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Topgolf was the only company to respond to the request, said Pat Beard, a project manager with the city's Community and Economic Development Department.

Topgolf’s said the development would include:

  • 102 climate-controlled hitting bays over three levels for year-round play.

  • A 215-yard outfield.

  • 2,100 square feet of private event space.

  • A 2,800-square-foot kitchen.

  • 5,700 square feet of full-service kitchen and bars.

  • More than 200 high-definition televisions.

  • 7,400 square feet of outdoor dining space.

"Over the next several days, city staff will be reviewing the proposal to determine whether we need more information or can respond to the proposal as submitted," Beard wrote in an email to The News Tribune.

The city could decide within 30 days whether to move forward with the company.

The city wants an entertainment venue to draw Dome visitors before and after concerts, to alleviate traffic backups and to provide a better experience for visitors.

Topgolf says it can do, plus stand alone as an entertainment choice.

"All 38 venues that have opened (in the United States) were cash-flow positive in the first month and remain positive, and Topgolf has never closed a location," the proposal states.

It predicts 475 or more jobs if its Dome venue opens, along with "sizable tax revenues for the city."

The Dome location would be the first Topgolf outlet in Washington State and the second in the Pacific Northwest. In its application, Topgolf says "opening the Tacoma location is a top priority for Topgolf’s strategic development plan."

Kate Martin: kmartin@thenewstribune.com, @KateReports
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