Topgolf's future in Albuquerque up in the air | KOB 4
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Topgolf's future in Albuquerque up in the air

Jen French
June 04, 2018 10:14 PM

Albuquerque, N.M. (Jen French)— The City of Albuquerque wants an entertainment venue to play by the rules before it can receive $2.66 million from the city.

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Topgolf, based in Dallas, promises to build a three-story tall netted driving range, with a bar and kitchen, behind Montano and I-25. Fourteen years ago, it was the Beach Waterpark. It has been an empty, expansive dirt lot since. 

"I mean it's an eyesore,” David Chavez said, Albuquerque resident. “I mean, there's always something. There's been police around here several times stopping people who have been living and hanging out over there. Homeless people.”

City Councilor Ken Sanchez thinks Topgolf could be a hole in one in Albuquerque.  Monday, city council approved R-18-28, an intent to provide economic incentives to the golf complex.  City councilors are working on what Topgolf will have to give to the city in return, before they formally approve the project.

The $2.66 million in incentives would come from Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds ($500,000), the gross receipts tax ($1.8 million) and capital improvements ($326,000).

Though Topgolf has yet to formally commit, Sanchez is certain the business will attract 300 construction jobs and another 350 service jobs.

"It attracts close to half a million people annually to the different parts of the country where Topgolf was at,” Sanchez said. “We just think it will be a great addition to Albuquerque."

Just a few months ago, Topgolf opened in El Paso. According to the El Paso Times, the Sun City took a swing at the golf complex and gave the company more than $5 million in tax incentives. So far, the game appears to be taking off.

However, Economic Development Director Synthia Jaramillo said Topgolf is breaking the rules in the City of Albuquerque. She added that Albuquerque won’t win by promising millions to the entertainment complex without demanding much in return. She is worried Topgolf will primarily provide low-wage, part-time jobs.

"Topgolf is an entertainment venue, therefore it does not qualify as economic-based company,” Jaramillo said. “So, when we're talking about economic-based jobs, those are jobs or employers that provide higher wage jobs."

Sanchez admitted that city councilors will have to negotiate with the Economic Development Department before Topgolf has a shot at being in Albuquerque. According to Topgolf’s website, the company plans on building in Albuquerque.

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Jen French

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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