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East Harbor Island site uncertain for possible Topgolf

Posted at 1:42 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 19:06:15-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Wherever a Topgolf is built in San Diego, it's bound to tee-up some criticism.

But as it stands, a potential East Harbor Island location facing golfers toward the downtown skyline may not end up being an option.

The Board of Port Commissioners decided to delay a decision earlier this month on entering an exclusive negotiation agreement with Topgolf.

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The Port directed staff to begin mapping out an agreement with Topgolf late last year. East Harbor Island was floated as a potential location at the time. But an agreed upon location must be chosen first before the negotiation starts.

During the Feb. 11 meeting, commissioners were presented a study on developing the Harbor Island site and how Topgolf could work into that plan.

Three diagrams showed the site's possibilities, with or without Topgolf:

  • A "phase one" diagram included a potential Topgolf plus a 400-space parking lot and 500-room hotel and parking structure on the east side of the island.
  • The "phase two" rendering kept Topgolf and the east-end hotel, but added a hotel development to the facility's west side that could have a shared parking structure with Topgolf.
  • The final diagram depicted three hotel developments on the East Harbor Island land, without Topgolf. All the diagrams were meant to be illustrative of potential ideas of the site, not an official plan.

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When it comes to the East Harbor Island site, commissioners were not settled on an absolute plan after the presentation.

"I don't know that I'm there with this particular use on this site," Commissioner Rafael Castellanos said, siding for more ideas that include lower-cost entertainment like parks and restaurants. "I'm just not feeling it ... I just feel that it's an expensive use. It's a lot of land."

"It seems to me we have one decision or one issue we need to discuss, which is do we want to have Topgolf in this location," said chair Anne Moore. "Quite frankly, I feel I can be convinced either way."

Other commissioners shared in the idea that while Topgolf would be exciting for the area, it may not be the best use of the land.

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Before deciding, the board requested more information on Topgolf's revenue, ways to reduce the parking area, and other ideas for the East Harbor Island site.

A followup vote on whether or not to enter the agreement with Topgolf was not immediately scheduled.