Following a backlash from some nearby residents over a proposed TopGolf facility at Oxmoor Center, a representative from Oxmoor Center pulled together the media Thursday afternoon to argue their case for why TopGolf should locate there and how recent changes to the original plans will negate the impact of light and noise pollution on surrounding residences.
“We have received an amazing outpouring of support, with thousands of community residents telling us how excited they are and sharing that news with their family and friends. People are telling us that TopGolf at Oxmoor Center is exactly the kind of entertainment option they want and that Oxmoor Center is the right location for it,” said Kendall Merrick, general manager of Oxmoor Center.
“We are grateful for all of the feedback we have received, and we have listened,” Merrick said. “We have made significant and substantial changes to our original design, and we’ve hired experts to study the questions raised by the neighbors.”
The changes detailed by Merrick include: shifting the entire development 200 feet to the west; installing downward-facing LED light fixtures with no lighting on poles or on the top of the facility; and installing LED lighting in existing parking lot poles and making any new poles 30 feet tall, compared to the existing 50-foot poles.
Information passed out at the media event states that moving the facility to the west will encourage traffic to move toward the west side of the mall and ensure that 97 percent of the houses nearby are one-third of a mile or more away from the TopGolf facility.
The information packet also noted that, according to a preliminary traffic study, TopGolf will draw more than 1,000 fewer vehicles trips throughout the day than a thriving department store.
The findings of a light study, sound study and the preliminary traffic study have been posted to TopGolfLouisville.com, a domain held by RunSwitchPR, for anyone to read.
Oxmoor Woods resident Bob Gunnell, a vocal opponent of TopGolf locating at Oxmoor Center, isn’t buying the pitch.
Moving the facility 200 feet is tantamount to taking 10 steps away from a raging fire, he said, one can still feel it. “It does nothing to dampen the noise and the light,” Gunnell said.
Gunnell heads the local public relations company Boxcar PR but told Insider that he is speaking about this issue as a resident and member of the opposition group Louisville Neighbors for Responsible Growth, not in his capacity as a public relations executive.
He repeated criticism expressed by other residents that the development does not match the neighborhood.
“Because of the pure size of the development, it is inappropriate,” he said, emphasizing that the poles and netting that are part of the TopGolf development reach a height of 170 feet.
Opponents have said they want TopGolf in Louisville but want it to locate elsewhere.
The actual building itself will be three stories with 102 climate-controlled hitting bays, according to TopGolf’s plans.
Tanner Micheli, director of real estate development for TopGolf, told Insider that TopGolf has heard similar concerns expressed by local residents of other cities.
“When a residential community is anywhere nearby, they have a perception that we are maybe loud and create a bunch of light and traffic, and we would not be successful if that was truly the case,” Micheli said.
“There would be a lot of complaints out there, municipalities would not be in favor of us and that’s just not the case,” Micheli added. “We work very closely with the communities we enter to be a great neighbor, and that is with the city themselves and the adjacent neighbors.”
Now that TopGolf has moved forward with filing its amended plans with the city, it will proceed through the hearing and approvals process. If the project is approved before the end of this year, Micheli said, TopGolf would be looking at an early 2020 opening date.
TopGolf would employ 500 people, including 125 full-time employees. According to one report, a typical TopGolf generates $264.5 million in economic output over a 10-year period.