Main Event will break ground this month on a 48,000-square-foot entertainment center along Interstate 35 near New Road, hoping to offer bowling, billiards, virtual reality games and a restaurant early next year.
Main Event is building in the same complex where work continues on a Topgolf venue and a 14-screen Cinemark movie theater, all included in a 143-acre development called Cottonwood Creek Market and launched by NewQuest Properties, a Houston company.
The possibility had been bandied about that Main Event or Dave & Buster’s would join Topgolf and Cinemark to form a trifecta. Then in July last year, the local Associated General Contractors office reported Main Event had secured a site grading permit, though not a building permit. The company said it hoped to place a 48,675-square-foot building in Waco.
It estimated cost at $7.7 million, excluding furniture, fixtures and equipment.
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Now, Waco and Main Event confirm, a building permit has been issued.
Collaborating on the project is Florida-based ResCon Group, which specializes in restaurant construction and whose completed projects include Fogo de Chao in Plano, Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Columbus, Ohio, Dave & Buster’s in Natic, Massachusetts, and Bahama Breeze in Lutz, Florida.
It will work with ID Studio 4, an architectural and engineering firm that has been involved in several projects for Main Event.
“Waco Main Event will include bowling, billiards, laser tag, gravity ropes, zipline, more than 120 arcade games, 25-plus virtual reality experiences, plus full restaurant and bar,” Main Event spokesperson Doug Terfehr said by email.
He said the center would employ 150 to 200 people.
“As a company founded in Texas, we have strong brand affinity here, and Waco has always been a community that we felt would enjoy our special brand of entertainment,” Terfehr wrote. “We are all about providing guests a safe and fun place to build connections and make memories. We are looking forward to becoming a part of the special Waco community and appreciate the reception we’ve already received.”
He said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, “we have aggressive growth plans to expand all over the country and believe the pandemic has only fueled the need for families and friends to connect over fun.”
Waco’s Topgolf, meanwhile, is not the typical three-story model popularized by Topgolf in larger markets. It will stand one-story high but have additional features giving it a family-oriented and backyard feel fueled by yards games, including bean bag toss and life-size Jenga, seating areas with fire pits and picnic-style dining tables, according to a Topgolf press release.
The local Topgolf represents a smaller prototype the company has employed targeting midsize cities. Others have been planned or placed in Augusta, Georgia, home to the Augusta National Golf Club that plays host to the prestigious Masters Tournament, and in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Waco’s will have 30 climate-controlled hitting bays and will open this spring.
K. Paul Holt, president of Waco’s Associated General Contractors headquarters, said he has approached Topgolf about the attraction’s availability on May 19, when the group would like to host a “sporting and networking event,” according the latest Associated General Contractors newsletter.
In an interview, Holt said Topgolf assured him it would consider his request for comment on when the venue would open. Netting designed to catch golf balls launched from the hitting areas has arisen in places.
Construction of the 14-screen Cinemark movie theater with reclining seats and other amenities continues, and the movie chain has made assurances the pandemic did not change its mind about placing a theater in Waco.
The city of Waco has pledged an incentive package worth $5 million toward Cottonwood Creek Market, primarily to compensate for infrastructure and roadway improvements and I-35 access points that also would serve future development between the Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership and Central Texas Marketplace.
City officials could not be reached about the status of those upgrades.