Huge golf entertainment facility planned for former Nabisco site

A developer is proposing a Topgolf complex and shopping center as part of the second phase of the redevelopment of the former Nabisco bakery.

Man with a plan: Michael Cooley, of Provco Group, speaks to residents March 12 at the Somerton Civic meeting. The developer is proposing a Topgolf complex and shopping center as part of the redevelopment of the former Nabisco bakery. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

A developer is planning to build a massive golf entertainment facility and a shopping area with restaurants on the site of the former Nabisco Bakery at 12000 Roosevelt Blvd. (near Byberry Road).

Michael Cooley, of Provco Group, which owns the property, said the project’s anchor tenant would be Topgolf, a company that operates high-tech driving ranges featuring food, drinks and music. This would be the company’s first location in Philadelphia.

The plan got the go-ahead last week from members of the Somerton Civic Association, who voted 44 to 13 to support zoning variances for the project after a presentation from Cooley.

The design calls for a three-floor, 67,000-square-foot building with 102 hitting hitting bays facing a 300-yard field and a full 150-seat restaurant with different bar areas and event spaces, according to Cooley.

The facility would be partially indoors and partially outdoors, he said. It would include a 170-foot-tall net, according to a zoning application.

“Topgolf is an extraordinary concept taking the country by storm,” Cooley said. “They’re developing these all over the country.”

A spokesperson for Topgolf said the company is looking to bring a location to the Philadelphia area but declined to discuss any details.

Topgolf’s closest facility is in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. The company opened it in October, and the only other location in Pennsylvania is near Pittsburgh.

Cooley described the hitting bays as suites with couches, tables and TVs that are served by waitstaff. The Mt. Laurel Topgolf  opens at 9 a.m. and closes 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and midnight the rest of the week.

In addition to the Topgolf, Provco Group is proposing a pair of strip mall-style buildings and a standalone restaurant along Roosevelt Boulevard. Those would be adjacent to the Wawa, which opened near Byberry Road as part of the first phase of the redevelopment of the site.

So far, Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle have signed on to the project, and Provco is in talks with other potential tenants, Cooley said.

The Topgolf would be situated in back of the strip mall, according to Provco Group’s plans.

All remaining structures from the Nabisco plant would be demolished as part of the project, according to zoning applications.

Cooley estimated construction costs for the second phase of the Nabisco redevelopment could range from $50 million to $60 million. If all goes well, work will begin in August or September, he said.

In total, the project will create 700 to 800 permanent jobs, with Topgolf alone expected to employ around 500 people, according to Cooley.

Residents at the meeting did raise some concerns about traffic in the area.

Cooley said the current traffic signal for the Nabisco driveway will be removed and a new light will be placed at Comly Road, which will be converted into a full intersection and serve as the main access point for the complex.

He also said Provco is planning to invest more than $1 million in road improvements.

As far as parking, the developer’s zoning application calls for a 480-spot lot for the Topgolf, 345 spaces for the strip mall and 56 spots for the freestanding building.

Cooley said he is hoping to go in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment to get approval for the project by the end of April or early May. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com