Franklin Gateway will be home to 3-story driving range and sports entertainment center

Marietta Daily Journal -- February 14, 2018

By:  Ross William

Drive Shack, a golf and sports entertainment center, will be opening a new location on Franklin Gateway in Marietta.

The facility, built on 17.18 acres adjacent to the Atlanta United property and Interstate 75, will be three stories. The ground level will be open on one side so golfers can drive balls out from the building. The rest of the facilities will include a variety of entertainment options, both golf related and otherwise. City Manager Bill Bruton said there will be tabletop games like pool as well as arcade games. Guests will be able to dine at full-service food and beverage areas including a rooftop dining area with views of the facility. Drive Shack will also have meeting spaces for corporate and business clients.

Bruton said Drive Shack will go on 24.5 acres of property that previously contained two apartment complexes purchased by the city for $12 million. Part of that property ended up becoming a part of the Atlanta United project.

Drive Shack purchased the remaining 17.18 acres for $9.5 million. Adding up the money the city made from the Atlanta United deal, Bruton said the city will see a net gain from the transaction.

That's in contrast to previous deals on Franklin such as IKEA in which the city took a financial loss in order to improve the area.

Bruton said the fact that investors are willing to pay more to build on Franklin is a sign the city's $68 million redevelopment bond approved by voters in 2013 to revitalize the corridor is working.

“I think the market has really improved since the redevelopment bond was passed,” he said. “The city has gone in and done many deals on the property... Because of all of that, the values have increased, and I think you're just seeing a real appreciation in the market for being on Franklin Gateway, and that's showing up in the pricing.”

Bruton said the location is expected to bring 450 jobs to the area, bringing the total new jobs added on Franklin since the revitalization project began to 2,400.

Drive Shack is a new venture and has not yet opened any of its locations, but has several in the works around the country. Its first spot is expected to open its first location in Orlando early this year.

The Marietta spot will the first in Georgia and one of the first nationwide when it opens sometime in 2019.

Caroline Whaley