Officials cheered Topgolf during the first formal examination of the sports entertainment facility’s proposal to redevelop the Burlingame Golf Center.
The Burlingame Planning Commission largely admired the national chain’s design for the driving range and bar and restaurant slated to be built on city land east of Highway 101, according to video of the meeting Monday, May 13.
The public discussion was the first in a series designed to lay the groundwork for construction of the 71,000-square-foot center slated to open summer 2021 at 250 Anza Blvd., where the city’s driving range currently operates.
No decision was made at the meeting, as the proposal still needs to undergo a thorough environmental review process which is yet to begin. But given their first shot at scrutinizing the proposal, commissioners lauded the approach.
“I think this is a great partnership to revitalize the facility and the area,” said Commissioner Richard Terrones, referring to the city’s agreement to lease for $1.5 million a year to Topgolf the site where a new $15 million center will be built by the company.
Commissioner Will Loftis too shared his enthusiasm for the proposal.
“I’m really excited you guys are coming,” he said.
The facility will offer 102 hitting bays spanning three stories which can accommodate as many as six players simultaneously. Players hit balls from the bays toward targets embedded in the range field, and points are awarded on an automated system according to proximity to the bull’s-eye.
Topgolf officials announced during the meeting the Burlingame location will be the prototype for a new style of facility designed to accentuate many of the most popular features from the company’s first line of establishments.
Maximum planned occupancy will be 1,300 people, including 125 employees on the property spanning about 13 acres. Ultimately, it is expected nearly 500 people, including part-time employees, will work at the center.
There are 475 parking spaces planned and the location is expected to operate from 9 a.m. until about midnight during the week, and 2 a.m. on the weekends. The establishment is a popular nightlife venue and also attracts many corporate partners who will rent the facility and event spaces.
The range is will be oriented facing the Bay, and lighting as well as audio systems are designed in a fashion to limit exposure to neighborhoods on the opposite side of Highway 101, or surrounding hotels and businesses.
While officials expressed their appreciation for the thoughtfulness to assure the company’s presence is not a nuisance to its neighbors, Commissioner Richard Sargent feared exposure to the elements along the Bayfront may detract from the experience for patrons.
Most notably, Sargent said the design should account for the high winds frequently ripping through the area abutting the Bayshore, especially in the late afternoon and evening.
“It can make it pretty darn unpleasant,” said Sargent, referring to prevailing winds. Topgolf officials admitted they had not considered wind patterns when putting together plans for the facility.
Regarding other potential design amendments, Commissioner Brenden Kelly requested Topgolf consider planting some trees between the golf center and the nearby sports fields in an effort to beautify the area and add some visual screening. The Topgolf facility will be built over the footprint of the existing golf center, but the adjacent sports fields will be preserved and largely unaffected by the development.
For their part, Topgolf representatives said they would consider the feedback provided by commissioners and may alter plans accordingly. More broadly though, Tanner Micheli, the company’s director of real estate, shared anticipation for opening the new site.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity to be here in Burlingame,” he said.
Terrones shared a similar degree of enthusiasm for the development as well.
“I think it’s a good project,” he said.
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