Baton Rouge, New Orleans region possible new location for popular high-tech driving range Topgolf _lowres

Topgolf, a popular Dallas-based golf facility that's a mix between driving range and nightclub, is eyeing New Orleans as a possible location to expand, according to the report from The Dallas Morning News. (Photo courtesy of Topgolf)

Topgolf, the fast-growing Dallas-based company that operates high-tech driving ranges, has applied for a permit to build a 55,000-square-foot facility at the site of the old Tinseltown movie theater near Interstate 10 and Siegen Lane.

The city-parish Planning Commission is scheduled to vote at its Oct. 16 meeting on the Topgolf site plan and on rezoning the land at 10955 North Mall Drive to allow for alcoholic beverage sales.

Caroline Jerome, a Topgolf spokeswoman, said there’s no confirmed timeline for the Baton Rouge location, but it typically takes 10 to 12 months to build a facility. Typically, the company gets rezonings and site approvals from local governments before officially announcing the opening of a new location.

“We’ve had our sights set on Louisiana for a while and we’re evaluating our options,” Jerome said. “We hope to announce our first Louisiana location sometime soon.”

In March 2016, Topgolf announced it was eyeing a number of markets across the South for potential locations, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans; Huntsville, Alabama; and Greenville, South Carolina.

Some of those locations are starting to come to fruition. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Topgolf and a group of New Orleans investors were teaming up to build a location at the site of the old Times-Picayune building alongside the Pontchartrain Expressway. And the company’s website lists a Huntsville location as opening soon.

Topgolf, which was founded in 2000, has 33 locations worldwide, in such U.S. cities as Atlanta, Tampa, Florida, and Houston, Dallas and Austin, Texas. The company website lists another 16 locations as opening soon, in markets such as Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando and Mexico City.

Players hit golf balls that are equipped with microchips that track accuracy and distance and score each drive. Each location has a full bar selling beer, wine and cocktails, along with a menu featuring dishes such as hamburgers, wings and flatbreads.

According to Topgolf, each location creates more than 500 jobs. The company notes that the average group that comes to each location is made up of four people and spends two hours hitting balls, eating and drinking. Thirty-seven percent of guests are non-golfers and 53 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34.

This is the second attempt to redevelop the old Tinseltown site in recent years by a Dallas-based entertainment company. In 2015, the property was rezoned for alcoholic beverage sales at the request of Main Event Entertainment, which wanted to build a nearly 50,000-square-foot family entertainment center with a bowling alley, laser tag arena, rope obstacle course and restaurants. The company dropped those plans earlier this year, but is now looking at building a similar center near the Mall of Louisiana.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.