Topgolf has announced plans to build one of its popular year-round driving ranges and restaurants in West Des Moines, its first in Iowa.
The company intends to build a facility with 72 climate-controlled hitting bays and a “chef-driven” restaurant and bar on the northwest corner of Mills Civic and Jordan Creek parkways, according to a news release. .
The 12-acre site is south of Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh and east of IMT Insurance, said Richard Hurd, founder and president of Hurd Real Estate, which owns the land.
Topgolf Chief Development Officer Chris Callaway said in the news release that he and other Topgolf executives are “thrilled to be joining the Des Moines community and look forward to welcoming our new players to Topgolf in the near future.”
“Our focus is on creating more ways for people to play the game of golf in a fun and unique way, and the Des Moines area is the perfect place to kick off our growth within the state,” he said.
When will Topgolf come to the Des Moines metro?
Hurd said a timeline for construction has yet to be set. A site plan and other items need approval from the city of West Des Moines before work can begin.
“There’s a lot of work to be done before this project will ever get started,” Hurd said.
Topgolf, founded in 2000, has grown into a worldwide company, with venues in 80 locations. In the Midwest. they are in larger markets like Kansas City, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, and Minneapolis.
It’s long been thought that the Des Moines metro, with a population of 700,000, is not large enough to support the name-brand chain, but Hurd said his company specializes in bringing to the area first-to-the-market retailers like REI, The Container Store and Nordstrom Rack.
“We specialize in pointing out reasons why certain retailers should locate in our community,” he said. “So we were successful in convincing them that the market is big enough and ready for this product.”
Planning for Topgolf began in 2019, long before the announcements of plans for smaller year-round golf venues Suite Shotsalso in West Des Moines about three miles south of the Topgolf site, and Bombersin Johnston, Hurd said.
Both plan to use Toptracer Range software — the same proprietary system used by the Topgolf sports entertainment company that handles functions ranging from performance measurements to bay assignments.
The developers of Bombers already have begun work, clearing the land for their facility on the east side of Merle Hay Road north of Interstate 35/80. Initial plans called for a four-story, 45,000-square-foot venue with 60 climate-controlled hitting bays, a full-service restaurant and multiple themed bars. But with financing in place, Bombers is now looking to modify its plans, said one of the developers, Allen Stoye, principal of investment firm Pan & Piper.
While still looking to incorporate some climate-controlled hitting bays, the company is exploring adding games like bowling and pickleball, he said.
A hotel is still part of the plan, and there may be entertainment options for families coming to tournaments at the indoor Ignit Recreation Complexwhich is under construction across Merle Hay Road.
With a five-year lease for the Toptracer Range system, “There’s nothing to say we can’t have a range with actual Topgolf technology for people to hit balls,” Stoye said. “We’re going to create an entertainment district here that we think is going to work out just great.”
He said Bombers was in negotiations with Topgolf to bring the facility to Johnston, but the company would have required the removal of more trees on the site, which Stoye said he was unwilling to do.
“We provided what we thought was a very fair option for a place that’s right on the interstate where most Topgolfs are,” he said.
Suite Shots recently gained approval from West Des Moines for its 50,000-square-foot facility south of Grand Avenue and west of Interstate 35. The plans also call for a nearby hotel, four office buildings, and quick-service and sit-down restaurants.
The West Des Moines City Council approved rezoning for the project, despite some neighbors’ concerns over noise and aesthetics. Neighbors have since filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to halt the project.
Developer Paul Cownie could not be reached for comment.
Topgolf “is not concerned about these other projects,” Hurd said. “They do what they do. I don’t think they run from the competition.”
Topgolf CEO Artie Starrs, in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo! Financesaid the company is in expansion mode, despite signs of a cooling economy, and plans to open 11 new US venues this year, “But we certainly are monitoring inflation on a weekly and daily basis.”