Tee time: Topgolf seeks rezoning for possible Baton Rouge location

    Topgolf, a Dallas company that operates entertainment-focused driving ranges, is asking the East Baton Rouge Planning Commission to rezone the former Tinseltown site off Siegen Lane for a possible new location.

    The facility would be a 55,000-square-foot, three-story building on a large plot of land at Siegen Lane Marketplace. The site was formerly occupied by Tinseltown until the movie theater closed and was demolished two years ago. The rezoning request is to allow Topgolf to sell alcohol, according to documents filed with the Planning Commission.

    A deal for the property has yet to be finalized, says Topgolf’s director of real estate development Tanner Micheli, but a new location could open within two years if everything moves forward. Construction of Topgolf facilities takes about 10 months to a year. Olshan Properties, which owns the site, deferred comment to Topgolf.

    “We’re excited about an opportunity in Baton Rouge. We’re just exploring certain areas of the market right now,” Micheli says. “We like places that have good energy and a lot going on. We think there’s a lot of opportunity for expansion” in the Baton Rouge area.

    Main Event Entertainment, also a Dallas entertainment company, had plans for a new location at the former Tinseltown site, but scrapped the plans earlier this year. It has since moved forward with plans for a location at the Mall of Louisiana.

    Topgolf has also been eyeing Baton Rouge and New Orleans since at least last year, when it announced the two cities were possibilities for new locations as part of a nationwide growth plan. It’s unclear whether the company will choose one or the other, or build locations in both cities. A spokeswoman for the company declined to elaborate.

    Earlier this year, Topgolf eyed the former Times-Picayune building in New Orleans for a new venue, NOLA.com reports. In a letter to neighboring property owners, the company floated the idea of beginning a 10-month construction in early 2018. A spokeswoman declined to comment on the status of that effort.

    Topgolf locations feature 215-yard outfields where players hit micro-chipped golf balls at large targets, with electronic scoring and feedback systems for the shots. The hitting bays are climate-controlled, Micheli says, and the facilities also offer a restaurant, bar area, lounge space and event center, and players are served food and drinks while they play.

    Most of Topgolf’s customers are nongolfers, Micheli adds, and the company is geared heavily toward entertainment.

    The concept originated in London in the early 2000s and was later licensed in the U.S. The company now has more than 30 locations.

    —Sam Karlin

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