Future of entertainment venues still up in the air | KOB 4

Future of entertainment venues still up in the air

Brittany Costello
Updated: January 26, 2021 12:28 PM
Created: January 25, 2021 10:03 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque entertainment venue Top Golf could be opening soon. While there's still not a set opening date, Top Golf reps said they're taking on new hires. 

“They’ve been able to get their certificate of occupancy,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis. “They can begin operating when they’re ready. They’re cleaning up some last-minute things. I’m sure, but it's been a long time coming, two years in.”

So what does opening mean in a COVID world?

Current state public health order restrictions have not stopped work on the new facility. Even with Bernalillo County in red, Councilman Davis said Top Golf can still open under the current restrictions because it's considered an outdoor recreation facility. That means they will have to abide by 25-percent capacity limits. 

Individual stalls at Top Golf help keep people socially distanced and COVID-safe.

Councilman Davis said they have been hiring everyone from management, to retail and food service. 

Bernalillo County and the Albuquerque City Council approved millions in tax incentives for the project. 

“I visited with the folks on site as they were finishing up their construction in early January. They had just sent some new hires off to Arizona to see how they’re doing that,” said Davis. “So I think its exciting. It's been a long time. But for folks, if you’ve been out of work and looking for something to do there are 200 people over the next few weeks who are going to start working again for the first time—a lot of them from the retail sectors, so that’s pretty exciting for those of us who have been cooped up looking for some COVID-safe options. I think it will be nice to have a new one just in time."

KOB 4 reached out to Top Golf to try and get a grand opening date, but we did not hear back Monday.

While things seem optimistic for Top Golf, other Albuquerque entertainment-type businesses still have no clue when they might be able to open.

Movie theaters have been closed since nearly the beginning of the pandemic along with concert halls and other entertainment venues. There’s no telling when those places will bounce back. 

According to the state's red to green reopening framework, Bernalillo County is still in the red category. But even when the county gets to green,  “close contact” recreational facilities must still remain close. The state defines those as places as theaters and concert halls.

Revel Entertainment, which is located next to Top Golf, was built to house restaurants, sports bars and even a massive concert hall that holds 2,400 people.

They opened just before the pandemic hit last year, but halted construction on the concert hall. They had to cancel the 11 concerts they had planned for the fall. Some restaurants in Revel are still open for takeout and delivery, but aside from that they haven’t really been able to open. 

“The intention was always to create this synergy with Top Golf if you will and now seeing that they’re coming, they’re starting to work in whatever capacity they’re going to be allowed that’s going to be great for us at some point,” said Daniel Chavez, Owner of Revel Entertainment. “It’s not by accident that we’re next door to them. There’s other venues, smaller venues here in Albuquerque that are struggling big time. That maybe if this goes to September, maybe they’ll be alright, but they may not even make to then.”

Chavez said he is now resuming construction on the concert hall with the hope that they will eventually get to open along with Top Golf, but he added he doesn’t know how much longer they will be able to survive with the restrictions.

“The game changes every day, and I’m just trying to follow the ball, if you will. And hopefully at the end of all this we’re still standing,” he said.

 Chavez said he may have to reassess things if the pandemic doesn’t get any better by this summer.

Officials with Top Golf said they are very close to announcing opening plans as they near completion of construction.

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