Yes, usually we are restaurant-related around here, but we occasionally dabble in stories of upcoming places that have the potential to make a large impact in an area.
Earlier this week we were tipped off about a suspicious RFQ for the city-owned War Memorial park. If you remember from early last year the golf entertainment franchise, TopGolf, was an economic development target by now Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott.
Fast forward a few months and Mayor Scott made the decision to close several golf courses around the city, including War Memorial golf course. Several plans and proposals have floated around since then about what the future of the golf course area will become. We don’t know everything, but we are able to start to fill in a little of the eventual plan.
An RFQ popped up this week in the city looking for a tenant to lease the location of the previous golf course that sits in the back corner that has boundaries of University Ave and I-630. (see photo).
In the RFQ description, they are looking for vendors who “are qualified to delivery golf entertainment for people of all skill and ability levels and ages”.
TopGolf recently opened a location in Rogers, making it the first in the state but also having an existing license to operate in the state, which is another requirement of the RFQ. The Rogers location occupies 11 acres and the War Memorial proposal calls for 18 acres to be developed, putting it close to the typical size when landscaping and an entrance from University Ave are factored in.
Given the Mayor’s desire for the franchise, the similarity in the language of the proposal, and the fact that TopGolf is one of the few (if only) “golf entertainment franchises” that would check all the boxes in the RFQ requirements, it is safe to say that this stands a very good chance at being the Top Golf location in Little Rock.
Our interest, of course, is the surrounding development and impact of the franchise. Directly across the street, development is finally getting underway in the old Sear’s location. There are ample opportunities there, on Markham, and along Fairpark. While we would absolutely rather see something local develop in the TopGolf spot, we do hope some strong local businesses take advantage of the draw the location will have and bring more local business into a chain heavy area.
We will continue to watch this development as it progresses. RFQ below