The owners of a Henrico County site that’s being eyed for a multi-story golf and entertainment facility just west of Scott’s Addition got an initial clearance Thursday evening.
The county planning commission unanimously recommended for approval a provisional use permit to allow around two dozen towering poles and nets for the planned Topgolf venue at 2308 Westwood Ave.
The permit was needed because of the height of the poles, some of which will rise 170 feet and will encircle the driving range to contain balls flying from the facility’s 100 or so hitting bays that will be stacked on three levels.
Plans for the Topgolf facility were filed with the county last month by the owners of the 14-acre site, a partnership between Fountainhead Properties and Rebkee Co. The group paid $6.5 million for the property in a September deal that also included the 220,000-square-foot Sears Outlet and distribution complex and its surrounding 12 acres at 4100 Tomlynn St.
The next step for the project is to take the plan of development in front of the commission on Jan. 24, followed by Board of Supervisors consideration of the pole height permit in mid-February.
Attorney Jim Theobald from Hirschler Fleischer is representing Topgolf.
County planning staff supported the height request, reporting to the commission that the planned facility is a permitted use in that area, as are structures up to 200 feet tall with a provisional use permit.
“The proposed use would be in keeping with the non-residential character of the area, which is slowly adding additional entertainment and service options,” it said.
The report states that while the net poles likely will be visible from nearby areas, other tall structures are already in the vicinity, including communications towers, billboards and the raised portions of Interstate 195.
Topgolf is a fast-growing Texas-based company that has around three dozen high-tech facilities operating nationwide and internationally, and another 18 or so in the works.
Customers tee off from climate-controlled bays that include TVs and tables for drinks and snacks. They aim at lit targets spread across the range, hitting balls fitted with computer chips to track where each shot lands, letting friends compete against each other. Topgolf charges for each bay by the hour – between $25 and $45 depending on the time of day.
The company has been looking for a site in the Richmond market since at least early 2016. Its main competitor, New York-based Drive Shack, is working on a similar $25 million facility off West Broad Street in Goochland County, just west of the Henrico line.