ShotClub Social to Add to (Near) Downtown Entertainment Options

Rendering of the Front (from the North) of ShotClub Social
Rendering of the Front (from the North) of ShotClub Social

A large project spear-headed by Spike McCamy (who will be primary owner) of Knoxville’s McCamy Construction, along with a group of investors with OnCore Golf based in Buffalo, New York are planning ShotClub Social, a golf entertainment complex with initial locations in Knoxville and Buffalo. The Knoxville location will sit just to the north of downtown and near other popular entertainment areas like Emory Place, Schulz Brau Brewing, and the new LunaVerse at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Marion Street). I met with Spike to learn more about the project and why he thinks it’s a good fit for the near-downtown area.

“I’ve been putting this site together over the last six or seven years. It was tiny parcels. PSC Metals owned about thirty of them.” The salvage work they did on the site left contaminants that rendered the land a brown field. PSC eventually cleaned the most hazardous parts, but what remains has issues that would prevent many uses. Portions of the parcel will have to be capped in compliance with EPA rules.

In 2022 he purchased two other parcels that had gone unclaimed for decades. He should soon close on another piece owned by TDOT. He said the site was originally planned as a subdivision but has been used by PSC for many years. When it’s all assembled, the single parcel should total just over ten acres. The project to assemble it all began in 2017 with Spike and his father (who has since died), making the project of personal importance to Spike.

Location of ShotClub Social (the blue pin) in Relation to Other Near Downtown Businesses I’ve Covered
Drawing of the Proposed Development Site

The City Council recently approved a PILOT for nine years after construction. A portion of the property has never been on the tax rolls and other parts had unpaid taxes. At the conclusion of the PILOT, it will be reassessed and taxed at the rate of its value at the time. The Industrial Development Board gave its final approval yesterday. When completed, total investment is expected to run as high as $35 million and will include about 40,000 square feet within the building.

The primary focus of the site is on a golf range which will be inside a massive net and will include electronic, interactive targets throughout the artificial turf surface. Rows of bays, numbering about sixty and covering two floors, will line the rear of the building offering tees and clubs (you can bring your own) for those who reserve them. The targets and balls are designed to give instant feedback to the players.

Each bay can be programmed for a range of players, ages, and skill levels. Golfing skills are not required and up to six people can play in each bay. Group events can also be accommodated. If everything is operating at full capacity, he thinks five or six hundred people could be using it at once.

In a late addition, the group has decided to add a 36 hole, upscale mini-golf course to the complex. It will include an indoor/outdoor bar with a turfed area “similar to Merchants of Beer or Yee-Haw, where you can have dogs and kids running around, alongside the mini-golf. The interior will also include duck pin bowling (think small ball, half-length lanes, quick games) and “twenty-five to thirty-five” arcade machines. The arcade games will be all-age friendly. A bar will serve all customers, including those golfing, and elevated pub food (they plan tables for seating, healthy options, and they hope people will come for the food) will be served. Large screen televisions will screen sporting events of interest.

Current View of the Property at the Corner of 5th and Marion, Future Home to ShotClub Social (from the south)

The group is also forming partnerships with local groups like Emerald Youth. With about 200 full and part-time jobs, they hope to find employees from their area, as well as offer discounted games to young people nearby. They are working with a local youth golf group, First Tee, and they are looking to have a night where they can play without cost. “I know those guys well through golf . . . and they have a hard time serving Mechanicsville and Londsdale because of the commute (to golf) and this will make it more possible to do so.

Both Spike and his father wanted something from the beginning that was more inclusive. For regular golf, “It’s not inclusive. It’s hard, you have private clubs that cost a lot of money.” His father wanted a club that could be available to many people. “Dad passed away in 2018 while we were working on this project, so for me this has become not just another real estate project, it has become somewhat of a legacy project. We’ll have some stuff to honor him . . . the last months of his life he was obsessed with this project, and it was fun to work with something important to both of us.”

He feels the location will be easy to access from the Interstate and he expects people from Cedar Bluff to downtown will be attracted. Spike lives and works downtown and has a family and he feels it is important to have a wider range of activities once people are in the area. “Most people would rather come downtown and do multiple things. I anticipate that with the stadium opening people will want to do other things beforehand. Same with UT games. Other than Maple Hall there aren’t other major entertainment destinations . . . We want to be a destination.”

Rendering of the Golf Bays (from the South) of ShotClub Social
Aerial Rendering of ShotClub Social from the North (Downtown in Background)
Aerial Rendering of ShotClub Social from the South (From the Direction of Downtown)

Extensive parking will be available onsite, so it should not impact surrounding neighborhoods. And while there may be noise generated from the crowds, that shouldn’t be an issue as the property is bounded by the Interstate, the creek, and Old Grey Cemetery. “The closest homes are on the other side of 275.” That said, he hopes this facility will eventually help tie some of the area together as more development heads that way and this property is near the center point for much of what has been developed.
“I think it will help connect downtown and eventually make it more walkable. There is a greenway along Marion and the city is talking about connecting greenway along the creek on the bottom side of our property.” As it is, the property is .7 of a mile from the 100 block of Gay Street.

Some additional rezoning needs to happen to begin construction and he hopes to have that taken care of by mid-July. They had to get the PILOT before approaching banks and they are in those discussions now. Costs have escalated in the time the project was being planned and property being purchased, as interest rates and material costs have skyrocketed in the last several years. “This same facility when we first started was about $20 million and now it’s going to be $30 to $35 million.”
If the re-zoning is completed by mid-summer, they hope to have an agreement completed with the bank this summer. “We hope to begin construction by this fall.” He hopes to finish in about 15 months, opening by around the end of 2025 or early 2026.