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Controversial Topgolf development still a go at Carillon business park

Veronica Brezina

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Topgolf in Centennial, Colo. (PRNewsFoto/Topgolf)

A dirt mound in the Carillon park sits empty where a Topgolf development is planned.

Although the movement on the project to build a 67,000-square-foot driving range at 220 Carillon Dr. N. seems to have gone radio silent, the project is still moving forward. Topgolf’s website states the golf entertainment complex is “coming soon” but does not state an exact timeline.

The site of the proposed Topgolf in Carillon. Photo: Veronica Brezina

Topgolf received approval from the city in November 2019 to build the sports project, which was initially expected to open in 2020. The project has been on hold pending the contractor’s submittal of the notice of commencement. An extension has been granted through April 11, according to Liz Abernethy, director of planning and development services in St. Pete.

Topgolf representatives have not responded to a request for comment regarding the plans. The Topgolf development has been highly controversial, especially in the residential neighborhood of Carillon as the site is across the street from residential developments Back Bay at Carillon and Saxony Place.

The Concerned Residents of Carillon, a group opposed to the construction of a Topgolf facility in their northern St. Petersburg neighborhood, legally challenged the city’s approval of the project, claiming the city didn’t undertake its due diligence and how they’ve been kept in the dark about the plans. 

“The entire issue was about raising the awareness of the project. We were not asking for Topgolf to not be built, we are asking for them to go through appropriate processes like every business that has built something sustainable has gone through, and provide us reasonable notice,”  Jason Liu, leader and spokesman for Concerned Residents of Carillon, told the St. Pete Catalyst, explaining the residents never received a notice about the proposed project. 

In February 2019, Western Reserve, which is a division of insurance giant Aegon, submitted a request to modify the 2012 site plan to allow for the construction of a Topgolf facility. While it was considered to be a “minor modification,” Liu said it is a massive change from the site once being eyed for large office development to an entertainment golf attraction. 

The plans for the Topgolf development have not been reviewed by the St. Petersburg City Council, according to the planning department. 

Liu’s group has also claimed that it has made multiple requests for public records regarding the site plan, but that the city failed to provide the documents; therefore, it did not meet the standards of an exemption to the Public Records Act. He and the group had set up a GoFundMe, which is still listed as an active account, for raising funds for its legal fees. The current amount raised is $19,000.

Last year, Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ramsberger ruled in favor of the City of St. Petersburg and Topgolf in a contentious civil lawsuit brought by the Concerned Residents of Carillon. 

“From a legal standpoint, we took this as far as we can. We are disappointed in the outcome,” Liu said.  

The planned Topgolf complex would include 450 parking spaces on 12 acres. It would be the second Topgolf facility in the Tampa-St. Pete area.

A Topgolf opened in Brandon in 2014. Topgolf officials previously said the St. Petersburg site would be different than the Brandon site, with a focus on family-friendly activities and significant improvements to lighting and sound systems to minimize the impact on people who live nearby. 

Early projections showed the facility would serve approximately 450,000 guests annually and create 400 full- and part-time positions.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dave Feddon

    March 16, 2022at3:56 pm

    Looking forward to having this entertainment venue in Pinellas County.

  2. Avatar

    Kiona

    March 18, 2022at10:08 am

    Having been waiting for this for so long!! Looking forward to having it in our back yard! My son loves Top Golf and so do I!

  3. Avatar

    Esther

    June 1, 2022at7:52 am

    I have been waiting for this to open already! Can’t wait! When can we expect this to open up?!

  4. Avatar

    Joanne Kahrnoff

    June 17, 2022at1:34 am

    Unfortunately, Topgulf’s refusal to build anywhere else in St. Petersburg where there are no complaints has fallen on their companies deaf ears. For the thousands of employees and residents who work there and call it home will no longer be able to access the Carillon Parkway because traffic will come to a standstill preventing cars leaving their businesses, residents, and emergency vehicles access with 400 cars backed up from Roosevelt Blvd traffic lights all the way through the Parkway to Ulmerton Rd’s traffic lights creating a dangerous situation for everyone. Carillon business park was not developed to handle that kind of traffic and if there’s ever a fire or someone needed emergency care than Topgolf can expect class action lawsuits fr injured parties. No one wants the loud speakers or obnoxious lighting until 11pm because we are mostly working professionals and retired folks that enjoy our quiet and peaceful time outdoors after dinner and most people are asleep by 10pm. You are not just affecting BackBay or Saxony Place. We have other condominium communities, 3 apt communities, and a highrise just built across the street fr your construction site which will all be adversely affected. The next step is to get local government involved and critical and unflattering media attention

  5. Avatar

    John

    June 21, 2022at3:52 pm

    I’ve been a resident and have also worked in carillon parkway for many years now and I can’t wait for this Topgolf location to be built and opened up within walking distance.

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