Topgolf Augusta

A Topgolf rendering shows plans for a new "backyard-style" attraction in Augusta, Georgia. A Topgolf location planned for Waco would have a similar design.

Anyone who doubted Waco would ever see the Topgolf entertainment venue announced for placement at New Road and Interstate 35 now must face facts.

A building permit has been issued for what is being described as a “Topgolf mixed use commercial facility, indoor driving range, restaurant and bar,” according to the local Associated General Contractors of America office.

The permit places the value of the one-story Topgolf facility at $6 million. It is set to serve as one of three anchors for the 143-acre Cottonwood Creek Market that will stretch roughly between the Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership and Central Texas Marketplace. Topgolf is expected to open this year, Austen Baldridge, a vice president with Cottonwood Creek Market developer NewQuest Properties, said last week in Waco.

Other attractions planned are a 14-screen Cinemark movie theater and a high-tech bowling center that NewQuest has not formally identified but which appears as “Main Event” on renderings showing the development site. Main Event Entertainment, based in Plano, has more than 40 entertainment locations nationally, some offering bowling, laser tag, rock climbing and billiards, as well as food, drink and space for birthday parties.

ARCO/Murray Design Build, a company with a national presence, and which has built other Topgolf facilities, will serve as general contractor for Topgolf in Waco.

Coronavirus

When the topic turned to the new coronavirus during a meeting of site selection professionals in Chicago, most attendees “felt like this is a blip, that it will not spark major recession,” said Kris Collins, industry recruiter and senior vice president of economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. Site selection involves helping companies choose the best places to locate or expand.

Collins said her takeaway is that most believed the United States is marshaling an impressive array of resources to deal with the virus and will succeed in containing it. She said companies that rely on China have experienced delays, but delivery time is improving as production returns to normal.

Pharmacist Steve Mitchell said Circle Drug, like other retailers locally and nationally, is experiencing a severe shortage of hand sanitizer and face masks as consumers pursue protection against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that emerged last year. He said those items disappeared days ago.

The Washington Post reported that demand for hand sanitizer has created a cottage industry and price gouging. An online seller, Pure Products Direct, was asking $79.99 for two 8-ounce bottles of Purell, and another vendor was hawking Purell at $54.99 for a single bottle, according to the Post.

The Post also reported that sellers were also active on Facebook Marketplace, “where an 8-ounce bottle of Purell was priced at $40 on Tuesday.”

On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton warned in a press release that price gouging of medical supplies would not be tolerated. If reports of such gouging grow in number, Abbott would give the attorney general broader power to prosecute the cases, the press release states.

“As we work to address the coronavirus, it is essential that the public has access to health and wellness supplies that can help mitigate any potential spread,” according to the press release. “We will work to combat any attempt to exploit public health and safety for monetary gain.”

Elsewhere, Austin-based Tito’s vodka quickly launched a disclaimer when it got wind of chatter its product could serve as hand sanitizer in a pinch. It correctly pointed out Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards call for hand sanitizer to contain at least 60% alcohol, whereas Tito’s contains 40%.

Alas, on Friday, the monstrous South by Southwest music, technology and film festival set to attract hundreds of thousands to Austin this month has been canceled because of concerns over COVID-19.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, of Magnolia and “Fixer Upper” fame, were scheduled to appear. Todd Bertka, who oversees the Waco Convention Center and Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau, told business leaders Friday of plans to “ride the wave” of the Gaineses’ popularity by having an official Waco, chamber of commerce and Baylor University presence at SXSW called “Destination Waco.”

Those plans apparently now are out the window.

But as of Friday, the Gaineses’ annual Spring at the Silos festival in Waco is set to go on as scheduled, starting Thursday. (Update: The festival was canceled on Wednesday night. Click here to read more.)

“We continue to closely monitor the public health developments throughout the region, and we are working closely with local, state and federal agencies to ensure the health and safety of this community and all who come to visit,” Magnolia spokesman John Marsicano wrote in a statement Friday. “At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain the immediate health risk to the United States public is low, and the current risk of person-to-person spread throughout the state remains quite low, as well.”

Bare Arms relaunch

Waco’s first craft brewery, Bare Arms Brewing, has scheduled a relaunch April 4 under the new ownership of Kevin Yackley.

Located on La Salle Avenue near Waco’s notorious traffic circle, Bare Arms has a new logo, a renovated taproom, a fresh coat of paint inside and outside, rustic wood accent walls, new lighting, updated bathrooms, five big-screen TVs, new games and a new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, “all with a great interior design that honors Waco’s ancestors who perfected their craft,” according to a press release.

The relaunch will showcase live bands, food from Rooster’s BBQ and ax throwing from Waco Axe Co.

JCPenney traffic

Traffic is growing outside the JCPenney store in Richland Mall.

The local store is among 50 nationwide introducing curbside pickup.

The service “offers customers the option to quickly grab online orders without leaving the comfort of their car,” a press release states.

The expansion follows a successful test run at what Penney’s calls its Brand-Defining Store, where customers applauded the service’s speed and ease. Penney’s in November opened a testing store in the Dallas suburb of Hurst, where it tries out new concepts and measures customer response.

Also, a new airport shuttle service, Waco ShuttleU, has announced two daily runs to Dallas Love Field Airport and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, with parking available outside JCPenney.

Customers will park in a designated area outside JCPenney and may leave their vehicles there up to two weeks at no cost, spokeswoman Sheri Mitchell said. Rides are $49 per person one way, and the service uses seven-passenger Nissan vans with room for luggage, Mitchell said. The service has received mall permission to occupy parking areas and soon will install signage.

More information is available at wacoshuttleu.com.

Marstaller real estate for sale

Interestingly, a real estate sign has gone up at Valley Mills Drive and Speight Avenue, where Marstaller Motors has sold Lincoln products for decades.

Gregg Glime and Bland Cromwell, with Coldwell Banker Commercial, are listing the property, which carries an asking price of $2.85 million. The site covers 2.53 acres, with 25,748 square feet of improvements.

Glime said Friday he has received inquiries.

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