Topgolf developers are gearing up for a fight in University City

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Charlotte’s first Topgolf just had its grand opening this past weekend near Whitehall. The response was incredible.

But a proposed second location near University City is in serious jeopardy. Nearby neighborhoods have launched a campaign to keep the City Council from giving the property the necessary rezoning. In response, the developers behind the location and University City’s top power players are trying to line up support ahead of a crucial vote next week.

The second location is proposed for University City near Mallard Creek Church Road at I-85.

“Charlotte’s fast-growing population, demographics, climate and business-friendly culture are ideal for Topgolf,” Topgolf Chief Development Officer Chris Callaway said in the announcement of the new location.

While both locations are in Charlotte, this one is about 26 miles by car away from the current one in south Charlotte.

[Agenda story: Charlotte is in love with Topgolf. A second one could be on the way]

The opposition has been unusually vigorous.

While there is frequently opposition to new development, the voices against Topgolf here have been particularly loud. And in an election year, the City Council has been attentive. Neighbors’ concerns come down to traffic, lights and noise.

“Every single Top Golf facility is lit up brighter than a Christmas tree at night,”nearby resident Linda Majchrzak told the council. “Do you want that in your backyard?”

The developers are fighting back against “misinformation.”

Matt Browder, one of the principal developers of the property, said they’ve done numerous light studies that show the nearby neighborhoods won’t be affected. He said they’ve also studied noise, and found that the nearby freeway is louder than Topgolf will be.

Topgolf also points out that they’ll be spending $2.5 million on new roads to ease congestion in the area.

Supporters have already launched a petition on Change.org. The petition only has 60 signers so far, but the signers are also encouraging people to start emailing city council members. This is somewhat unusual — usually the only campaigns are against a proposed development.

The developers are also calling in the area’s bigwigs to support the project. University City Partners Executive Director Darlene Heater has been vocal in her support for the project.

A final vote is expected next week.

It might be close.

“It’s got me nervous,” Browder said.

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Andrew Dunn
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