Waco: Proposed 'entertainment compound' could draw Top Golf

The proposed entertainment development includes a movie theater, a game-style venue, and...
The proposed entertainment development includes a movie theater, a game-style venue, and potentially a Top Golf. (City of Waco photo)(KWTX)
Published: Jun. 20, 2019 at 1:07 AM CDT
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A project to bring more entertainment to Waco is in the works.

A new 'entertainment compound' has been proposed off of S. New Rd. and the I-35 frontage road, behind Central Texas Marketplace.

"We've been working on it for several months," said Melett Harrison, Executive Director of Economic Development for the City of Waco. "We hope this will really help us round-out some of our needs as far as entertainment options in the community."

Cinemark has already signed on, and the developer, NewQuest Properties, is promising a Dave & Buster's or Main Event-type place, too.

However, most of the buzz is about the possible third tenant: Top Golf.

"Everybody is excited about the potential for Top Golf," said Harrison. "It's not a guarantee, but we're hopeful it will come to fruition."

Harrison says they want to broaden the city's entertainment options beyond family entertainment.

"We'd also like to do something to encourage the young professional crowd to have more things for everyone to do across the board," said Harrison.

City staff gave an informational presentation to council members Tuesday night showing the scope of the 142-acre project with $5.3 million in proposed incentives for infrastructure.

Infrastructure costs have caused the site to be unattractive to developers in the past, Harrison said.

"Infrastructure needs to be done for development to happen properly including sewer, drainage, and a traffic signal," said Harrison.

Harrison says the city won't give any money up front--the initial infrastructure costs will be the developer's responsibility.

"As they build and start generating property tax and sales tax, the city will remit or rebate a portion of those taxes they pay into the city," said Harrison.

The developer has a ten-year window to receive a capped amount of funds back from the city; No matter what, the developer will have to pay the $5.3 million in infrastructure improvements, however, if they don't bring in Top Golf, they're only eligible for a tax rebate of $3.95 million.

"It's totally dependent on their success," said Harrison. "It's a pay on performance-type situation."

As part of the deal which includes the creation of a TIFF zone, at least two of the three entertainment tenants have to be secured and operational before the developer can be eligible for the rebates to begin, Harrison said.

At the very least, the project will cost the developer $13.4 million--the number rises to $23.4 million with Top Golf.

The mixed-use development has a total taxable value of $123 million, according to city documents which show with phase one and phase two of the project--which doesn't include Top Golf--the city will receive an estimated $3.3 million in the first ten years, then an estimated $1.9 million per year after that.

Harrison said schools and the county will also benefit.

Staff hope to take the incentive contract to council at its July 2nd meeting.

"The developer wants to move quickly," said Harrison.