CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Carpionato Group has been given the green light to begin building a new Topgolf sporting facility in Cranston after the City Council unanimously approved a zoning change needed for its construction.
President of Carpionato Group Kelly Coates said they plan to replace the old Citizens Bank building on Sockanosset Cross Road with the new sporting facility.
The plan calls for the demolition of a portion of the old building, which is approximately 300,000 square feet, leaving the remaining space as office space. The 35,000 square-foot Topgolf facility and adjacent parking lots will be built on that property.
Topgolf advertises itself as a sports and entertainment company with more than 50 locations globally. It offers not only golf rounds but a driving range, music, restaurant and bars.
The Cranston Planning and Zoning Commission approved a zoning change earlier this month that would accommodate the height of the nets used to catch the golf balls. More than a week ago, the city’s Ordinance Committee unanimously approved the zoning changes needed to build the facility.
On Monday, the City Council approved the zoning change, giving the developer the go ahead to begin construction on the facility.
Coates said Topgolf should generate more than $1 million in tax revenue annually, while also creating 450 jobs in the city, a third of which would be full-time positions.
“Topgolf wants to come to one of our vacant properties and create a jewel in Cranston, to actually add to the jewel that Cranston already has in that area,” President of the Cranston City Council Michael Farina said. “I am in full support of this project.”
But, not everyone is excited about Topgolf coming to the city. The proposal for the massive sporting facility is causing unrest among Cranston residents who live nearby.
The Garden City Alliance has expressed opposition to the construction of the facility, citing traffic congestion as a major concern due to the already busy Chapel View and Garden City Center.
“The facility is going to look like an amusement park at night,” Founder of the Garden City Alliance Pauline Derosa said. “Then we have the addition of the 176 foot high poles that are going to anchor the netting that’s going around the outfield. Those are going to be an eyesore. In fact, I’ll be able to see them from my kitchen window.”
Despite the concerns, the project is moving forward. Coates said the Carpionato Group will now begin engineering work, planning meetings with the board, and licensing procedures with the City Council.
“I think the majority has spoken. There are always going to be people who are concerned and nervous about change, but I think there has been a ground swell of support for the project,” Coates said.
Coates said Cranston is the only location Topgolf is considering in Rhode Island. The Carpionato Group plans to begin construction by the fall of 2019 and have the new sporting facility open by either the fall of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.