New venue brings 450 jobs to downtown Birmingham

By Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved $1.5 million in financial incentives over eight years and rezoned property to make way for Alabama’s first Topgolf location. (Provided photo)
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved $1.5 million in financial incentives over eight years and rezoned property to make way for Alabama’s first Topgolf location. (Provided photo)

Topgolf, a global sports entertainment venue, will open its first Alabama location in downtown Birmingham by late 2017.

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved $1.5 million in financial incentives over eight years and rezoned property to make way for the venue.

The three-level, 65,000-square-foot, 10-acre digital golfing venue will be located along 12th Avenue near Carraway Boulevard. The 10-acre property will be leased from the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) Authority.

“As we look to expand in the Southeast, Birmingham is a key market that has been on Topgolf’s radar for a long time,” said Topgolf Director of Real Estate Development Devin Charhon. “With all the recent development in the downtown Birmingham area and all that the Uptown Entertainment District around the BJCC offers, we look forward to bringing a new option for entertainment to the Birmingham market.”

Said Birmingham Mayor William Bell, “This is huge for us from the standpoint of the economic development opportunities that it will bring to the north side of Birmingham. When we first developed the Uptown District there was a lot of criticism and questions whether it was a good use of funds.

“That was one of the attractions that led Topgolf to want to locate over on that side of town. The development they are proposing will create 450 job opportunities as well as redeveloping almost an entire square block.”

The location is expected to serve around 450,000 visitors in its first year and the city is expected to exceed a revenue estimate of $264.5 million within 10 years, according to an audit.

The venue will include up to 3,000 square feet of private event space, 102 climate-controlled hitting bays which cater to up to six players at a time, HDTVs and a chef-inspired food and beverage menu. Topgolf will also offer interactive experiences such as Topgolf U lessons. Topgolf has 30 venues in the U.S. and U.K. and serves 12.2 million people annually.

BJCC Executive Director Tad Snider said the venue will provide “a great mix of entertainment for Birmingham-area residents at the BJCC’s Uptown District.”

The venue could attract other businesses, Bell said.

“We have some other companies that are in discussions with that may lead to further development in the near future,” the mayor said.