Exclusive: Construction tees up for $25M Lake Nona golf attraction

It’s official: ’s & Performance District is adding a new golf and entertainment element to the mix.

Franklin, Tenn.-based The Parkes Cos. last week was issued a permit valued at $10 million to begin work on Drive Shack, the new complex at 7675 Lake Nona Blvd., according to city of documents.

The project includes a three-story, 57,000-square-foot driving range entertainment facility that includes a restaurant, lounge, bar, hitting bays and meeting spaces, according to Orange County permitting documents. It will be built on a 15-acre site on the northwest quadrant of State Road 417 and Lake Nona Boulevard, as previously reported by Orlando Business Journal. It will be similar to Topgolf, which plans to open an Orlando site on International Drive this fall.

A project manager at The Parkes Cos. wasn’t available for comment and it appears Drive Shack Orlando’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated since September, as of the morning of May 22.

However, New York-based Drive Shack Inc. (NYSE: DS) is a new global golf entertainment company as announced last November by New York-based real estate investment trust Newcastle Investment Corp., which is managed by an affiliate of real estate firm Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE: FIG).

The Lake Nona site is the parent company’s first Drive Shack location and another one is in the works, Drive Shack CEO and President Sarah Watterson said during the company’s May 5 first-quarter earnings call. Here’s more on what Watterson had to say about the project during that call:

“On the entertainment golf business, we continue to be very excited and make strides in developing our global network of Drive Shack venues. In Orlando, we’re in the midst of constructing our first venue, with the goal being open in first-quarter 2018. We’re also very excited to announce that our second Drive Shack venue will be developed in Richmond, Va. … Our venues feature multiple stories of hitting suites, whether friends, family, coworkers or complete strangers are able to compete in various technologically-enhanced golf games while using TaylorMade clubs. Consumers who are seeking a good time, but maybe not looking to participate in the game, are able to enjoy food and beverage options from one of our many entertainment, restaurant or lounge areas.”

Each Drive Shack site is expected to cost $15 million-$25 million to build, and would generate about $3 million-$6 million of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a December 2016 investor presentation showed.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous is the project architect; Walter P. Moore is the structural engineer; ME Engineers is handling mechanical, electrical and plumbing; and Howe Engineers is the code engineer.

Meanwhile, Drive Shack in Lake Nona is the next piece of the 300-acre Sports & Performance District, which boasts the now operating $100 million U.S. Tennis Association National Campus; the soon-to-debut $1.4 million USTA Florida headquarters and U.S. Professional Tennis Association complex; and the $20 million Orlando City Soccer Club training facility.

Elsewhere in Lake Nona, global audit giant KPMG LLP is hosting a May 22 groundbreaking on its new $430 million Lake Nona training center and Lake Nona developer Tavistock Development Co. LLC expects big things for the next $300 million phase of its Lake Nona Town Center.