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Albuquerque’s Topgolf moving Fore!-ward

The curved driving deck at the Topgolf facility is under construction at Montaño and Pan American Freeway NE. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Construction on one of Albuquerque’s most anticipated new attractions is rolling along on schedule, with an opening planned next summer.

Topgolf’s 50,000-square-foot entertainment complex, which will feature climate-controlled driving ranges for golfers, along with restaurants, bars and plenty of event space, is rising next to Interstate 25. Caroline Jerome, communications specialist for Topgolf, wrote in an email that the Albuquerque venue is expected to open between July and September.

The Dallas-based company broke ground on the site at Montaño and Pan-American Freeway NE at the former site of The Beach water park, in February. The project received $4.3 million in city and county incentives, and Jerome wrote that it is expected to create between 300 and 325 full- and part-time jobs. In 2017, Albuquerque city councilors approved $2.6 million in incentives for the project over the veto of Mayor Tim Keller, according to the Journal’s archives.

Topgolf will include a driving range and what appear to be large target holes. (Courtesy of Crazy Fish )

Jerome added that the company selected Albuquerque because of its sunny climate, which makes it possible to incorporate outdoor amenities such as a rooftop terrace and fire pit. She wrote that the site made sense because of its visibility and easy access to the interstate.

“The city has a growing population and distinct cultural amenities that attract a large number of visitors to the area and we feel that Topgolf can be a real entertainment amenity to the larger Albuquerque community,” Jerome wrote.

Once completed, the facility will offer more than 70 “hitting bays,” where up to six players at a time can compete in high-tech golf games in a semi-enclosed space. Jerome wrote that Topgolf offers games using balls containing microchips that instantly score themselves while showing players the accuracy and distance of their shots on a TV screen in their hitting bay. The company will offer golf tournaments and social golf leagues throughout the year, Jerome wrote.

Crews work on the shell of Albuquerque’s Topgolf on Tuesday. The 50,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed next summer.

ARCO/Murray serves as the general contractor for the project.

Nob Hill sushi joint looks to branch out

One of Nob Hill’s signature restaurants quietly reopened last month, and it will soon be offering additional cuisine.

Crazy Fish, located at 3015 Central Ave NE, closed its doors near the start of the summer in order to renovate and expand the restaurant, according to Fiona Brown, front of house supervisor for the restaurant.

One of the Sushi offerings at Crazy Fish.

Brown said the restaurant converted the vacant storefront next door into additional seating, but it isn’t a simple expansion of the restaurant’s existing offerings. Instead, Crazy Fish will begin offering Korean barbecue in the expanded seating to complement its current menu of sushi and other Japanese dishes within the next month. The goal, Brown said, is to offer something different but complementary to expand the restaurant’s appeal.

“It’s a business model that has been successful elsewhere,” she said.

Korean barbecue restaurants, where patrons can grill a mix of meat and vegetables at their tables, often using grills often built into the restaurant tables, has grown in popularity in cities like Los Angeles. However, Brown said there aren’t many other restaurants in Nob Hill offering the unique cuisine.

Brown said the company purchased the adjacent storefront, which had been vacant for years, in 2018. Brown said the older part of the restaurant will continue serving sushi, bento boxes and Japanese noodle dishes, while the tables in the expanded portion of the restaurant will feature built-in grills for Korean barbecue.

Although Crazy Fish reopened about a month ago, barbecue fans shouldn’t flock to Central just yet. Brown said the restaurant is planning a grand opening, with a date still to be determined, when it will begin barbecue service.

“We really wanted to make sure we had all our ducks in a row first,” Brown said.

A new way to pay for groceries

Shoppers at Smith’s Food and Drug stores in Albuquerque and elsewhere can once again use Visa credit cards, a reversal from when the company stopped accepting the cards earlier this year.

In March, the grocery store chain, a division of Kroger Co., announced that it would no longer be accepting the credit cards, citing high fees as a reason for the change. Smith’s was the second grocery store chain owned by Kroger to stop taking Visa credit cards, after Foods Co. Supermarkets stopped last year, according to the industry publication Supermarket News.

In October, Smith’s, which operates more than a dozen stores in Albuquerque, began accepting the cards again. The company announced the change with a banner advertisement on its website, along with actual banners at stores around Albuquerque.

The chain did not cite a reason for the change, and company representatives could not be reached for comment.

Stephen Hamway covers retail and real estate for the Albuquerque Journal. You can reach him at shamway@abqjournal.com or by phone at 505-823-3919.

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