Golf entertainment company acquires Regal Theater site in Brooklyn Center

The proposed site plan for the upcoming Topgolf entertainment facility that will replace the Regal movie theater in Brooklyn Center. (Image courtesy of the city of Brooklyn Center)

A Dallas-based golf entertainment corporation has officially acquired the site currently housing a Brooklyn Center movie theater, with the intention of replacing it with a high-tech golfing and entertainment facility by next fall.

On May 17, the Topgolf company announced that its board had approved the acquisition of the Brooklyn Center Regal Cinema located at the corner of the intersection at Interstate 694 and Highway 252, and will oversee the demolition of the theater later this summer to begin construction of a 65,000-square-foot, three-level golfing facility that will include 102 hitting bays, 11 outfield targets, a 2,500-square-foot kitchen, and a 3,000-square-foot event space.

Topgolf, which has 35 similar facilities across the country, had submitted an application to amend an existing planned-unit development in Brooklyn Center to purchase the Regal facility, which has been seeking a buyer for approximately 18 months.

“It will be the first Topgolf in Minnesota and a destination site for Brooklyn Center,” said Brooklyn Center Mayor Tim Willson in a May 17 Facebook post.

This will be the first Topgolf location in Minnesota, with the closest facility being in Chicago. City business Development Director Gary Eitel said that Topgolf’s decision to add a franchise in Brooklyn Center is a major boon for the city.

“I’ve talked to a number of people that have actually experienced the Topgolf experience, and they’re all extremely positive,” said Eitel. “It is more than just a driving range: it’s an entertainment center, a restaurant, a bar and lounge. It will be very attractive business attention to Brooklyn Center, and it’ll bring more commerce to the area.”

According to Topgolf’s project narrative to the city, every Topgolf location is staffed with more than 475 employees, with salaried and full-time employees receiving competitive benefits.

“Topgolf strives to be a community partner everywhere it goes,” the narrative continues. “All veterans and local emergency responders are provided a pricing discount and, as part of its commitment to youth and the game of golf, all local, nonprofit youth programs can play golf for free.”

The Regal, which was constructed in Brooklyn Center in 1999, went on the market due to struggles facing a theater industry threatened by the ubiquity of modern technology allowing for the consumption of movies at home and on small screen devices, said Eitel.

“I understood that the (theater) industry itself has struggled, and that other theaters were trying to modernize, reinvent to attract and keep new customers,” he said. “Movie theaters may very well be like bookstores … there will just be fewer of them.”

According to Willson’s Facebook post, deconstruction of the Regal could begin this July and finish in the fall, with the tentative opening of the new Topgolf facility to be in the fall of 2018. Considering its state-of-the-art hitting bays for golf aficionados, a restaurant space, and a massive event space, Eitel believes the Topgolf facility will be a major draw for residents not only in Brooklyn Center, but the surrounding metro area.

“It reinforces the positives of Brooklyn Center as an inner-ring suburb, close convenience, access to downtown Minneapolis and the other sports facilities,” he said. “Right now, I have seen their prototype. I’ve never experienced one, but I know a number of people that have, and they’ve all been extremely complimentary of the facility.”

The Brooklyn Center City Council’s May 22 meeting was scheduled to begin the process for permitting, planning, zoning and site approval. As of press time, the Sun Post’s requests for comment from Topgolf representatives were not returned.

Contact Christiaan Tarbox at [email protected]