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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.

New Public Parks Enter Planning Stages

Two new city parks are now in the planning stages and projected to break ground in 2017.  The new parks, East Airfield Park and South Lake Park, will bring illuminated, regulation soccer and softball fields, green space and a variety of amenities to the Lake Nona community.

Giving Lake Nona residents more options for outdoor activities and recreation is the idea behind dividing the park spaces across Lake Nona’s 14 square miles.  It gives more Lake Nona residents quick access to active greenspaces and amenities closer to where they live and play.  Each park will have its own featured asset, the first two being and softball, but all sharing common features, including passive park areas, trails for running or biking, concessions for game days, and many others.

The city are now moving forward after recent approvals from the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) and the City of Orlando.  Tavistock is currently seeking designs and plans to fast-track the projects to bring more active greenspaces to Lake Nona. Currently, both parks are scheduled to break ground in 2017 and open in 2018.

East Airfield Park will be located near NorthLake Park on Dowden Road just west of Narcoossee Road.  South Lake Park will be located in the Laureate Park neighborhood just south of Laureate Boulevard.

Park features:

  • Soccer fields – 4 illuminated regulation fields (South Lake Park)
  • Softball fields – 4 fields (East Airfield Park)
  • Playgrounds
  • Plaza or pavilion spaces
  • Restrooms and concessions
  • Multiuse trails, jogging and biking paths
  • Designated green spaces
  • Parking and seating areas

High-end driving range headed to Lake Nona

Lake Nona planning a three-story, high-end driving range and restaurant complex in the southeast Orlando neighborhood.

Tavistock Development filed an application for a 66,000-square-foot building and golf range with a restaurant, bar and event space, according to documents submitted to the City of Orlando.Homes for Sale in Lake Nona Florida

Floor diagrams show about 90 golfing bays as well.

The 15-acre project is dubbed “Drive Shack” in documents. The facility would have about 450 parking spaces.

Drive Shack is the same name of a golf-range brand being developed by equipment maker TaylorMade and real estate firm Newcastle Investments Corp. TaylorMade owner Adidas said in May it intends to sell TaylorMade as well as clubmaker Adams and apparel maker Ashworth, amid falling sales that saw competitor Nike announce in August it will stop making golf clubs.

A spokeswoman for Tavistock said she could not comment on the project, and Newcastle did not return a request for comment.

Tavistock also said that Drive Shack would have some interactive golf elements with its driving range, but did not give specifics.

At Drive Shack, the three-story building would have outdoor golfing bays that overlook the range. The first floor calls for a kitchen and lounge as well as a pro shop retail area.

The second floor plans call for a restaurant, lobby and event space as well as an additional retail area. The third floor is mostly golfing bays and a rooftop terrace.

Drive Shack would be one of two high-end golf driving ranges heading to Orlando, along with the Topgolf project in Orlando tourist district.

Topgolf is another three-story driving range project, which uses interactive game elements along with the traditional driving range format. That project is now under construction at Convention Way and Universal Boulevard and is expected to finished sometime in 2017.

Sports bars in Orlando that have interactive golfing simulators, in which customers can hit balls into a screen displaying golf courses, include Caddyshanks and Dewey’s. Those simulators also have training elements.