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Earthmovers push dirt around a site next to Bass Pro Shops in East Ridge. Drawings filed with the city show the site as a possible location for a Topgolf entertainment complex. / Staff photo by Mike Pare

This story was updated at 11:32 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, with more information.

We think it's a great fit for our project.

A Topgolf entertainment complex is expected to open in East Ridge next summer, says the developer of the project that's expected to serve as a regional attraction for the city.

"The synergy it brings with Bass Pro Shops will draw regional people to the area," said John Healy of Wolftever Development.

A Topgolf spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday that the entertainment complex is coming to the Chattanooga area.

"We are excited to share that Topgolf will soon be breaking ground," said spokeswoman Caroline Jenkins in a statement. "This location is very important to us."

In June, architectural drawings for a possible Topgolf complex were filed in East Ridge. Drawings for the company that operates more than 50 such venues across the country show a complex sitting next to the Bass Pro retail store at Exit 1 on Interstate 75.

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The Topgolf location in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo contributed by Topgolf.

Earth work has been ongoing on at the site, and Healy said Exit 1 is "an ideal location."

"We think it's a great fit for our project," he said about the multimillion-dollar venue that will take up a 16-acre tract.

Golfers and non-golfers play Topgolf using point-scoring games with micro-chipped balls that instantly show performance data, including accuracy and distance, on a TV screen in a bay.

The venue also features food and drinks, big screen TVs, private event spaces and music in climate-controlled hitting bays, according to the company.

The entertainment complex estimates having 23,886 square feet of building space, occupancy for 102 people and about 150 parking spaces.

East Ridge City Manager Chris Dorsey said he's excited about the prospects offered by Topgolf.

He termed it "a great asset" to East Ridge.

Healy said the development group, which includes Matt and Ethan Wood, visited many of Topgolf's locations, and it has been working with the company for several years to attract them to East Ridge.

"We want this to be family friendly," said the developer about Exit 1, which is located next to Camp Jordan.

Healy expects Exit 1 will be a $100 million development when it is fully built out.

In addition to Bass Pro, a hotel, and other development already on site, he said another hotel, more restaurants and other announcements are in the pipeline.

Healy said the Exit 1 project has benefited from the Border Region Retail Development District state sales tax incentive. That allows the city to recapture the growth in sales tax collections within the zone and then plow those funds back into repaying investments in the area.

Earlier this year, East Ridge officials approved incentives related to the new soccer stadium just on the other side of I-75 related to the Chattanooga Red Wolves.

Red Wolves owner Bob Martino has said he's planning a complex that will include an array of restaurants, apartments, hotels, condominiums and stores in an estimated $125 million project at I-75 and I-24.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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