Hole in one: Topgolf giving boost to local economy, also helping to spur new development

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- As Topgolf plans to hire about 500 employees for its new location in Independence, the city's mayor said the new venue is sparking other nearby development, including plans for a massive Saucy Brew Works brewery.

Final stages of construction are underway at the Topgolf facility on Rockside Woods Boulevard North, near the I-480 and I-77 interchange.

Director of Operations John Lesieutre said it is expected to open in early to mid-December.

The main structure is built, composed of 102 climate-controlled driving range bays across three stories. There are two bars, patios and a designated event space.

Work is still underway on the grounds of the outfield where golfers hit balls toward targets and nets.

Lesieutre said hiring will begin soon for 500 full and part-time positions, with a hiring event planned for October 16.

"Everything from a line cook to a bay host, those are our servers, food runners, drink runners, maintenance facilities," Lesieutre said.

He said the central location in Independence was a big draw for Topgolf's 63rd facility.

"A lot of it is based on the availability of land," he said. "We have a large footprint, over 11 acres, that's a big factor. We look for easy access with freeways."

The City of Independence offered Topgolf $1 million as an incentive to build on the site, which had challenging terrain from fill material, according to Mayor Anthony Togliatti.

He said the city also offered a $500,000 cap on payroll taxes for the first three years of operation.

"We did offer a unique incentive package to entice Topgolf to this location," Togliatti said, noting the city will recover its incentive payment within three years.

He said the city expects the facility to generate about $450,000 to $500,000 in annual tax revenue, including through payroll, property and amusement taxes.

Togliatti said the Independence Local Schools will receive about $150,000 per year in property tax revenue.

"It's an investment that we made in our business district, and we are already reaping the benefits of that investment," he said.

On Tuesday, the city's planning commission approved plans for a new $18 million Saucy Brew Works production facility on the site adjacent to Topgolf, next to Embassy Suites.

Togliatti said plans call for a 25,000 square foot brewery to be built in 2020 that includes offices, a tasting room, restaurant and outdoor beer garden. He said the brewery anticipates hiring about 60 employees within three years.

He said plans for the brewery are a direct result of Topgolf's location, creating new entertainment options in the city's business district.

"We have a lot of office buildings, we have a lot of sandwich shops, but we don't have much entertainment," Togliatti said.  "With the addition of Topgolf and the addition of Saucy Brew Works, we fulfill some of those amenity needs."

Independence is also planning to extend Rockside Woods Boulevard North to Brecksville Road in 2020, creating a through road that increases access to the area.

Togliatti said developers are also currently interested in the property across the street from Topgolf, and the project could create a "tremendous" payroll.

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