A three-story driving range and entertainment complex is no longer in the works for the North Branch of the Chicago River in Bucktown.

Operator Drive Shack has scrapped plans for its $40 million redevelopment of the 9.3-acre Vienna Beef factory at the Damen-Elston-Fullerton intersection, across from the Midtown Athletic Club. 

Similar in concept to Topgolf, Drive Shack’s Chicago location would have included more than 100 climate-controlled driving range bays oriented toward the Chicago skyline plus both indoor and outdoor dining facilities. 

The project was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in January 2020. And while its 337-car parking lot wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of urban design, the plan did include some unique site-specific features such as a landscaped public riverwalk along the waterfront. 

Chicago Golf Report broke the news on Drive Shack’s decision to abandon its Bucktown plans. The publication did not say why the company pulled the plug on the project.

Paul Sajovec, a staffer for Ald. Scott Waguespack, told Block Club Chicago that any future redevelopment of 2501 N. Damen Avenue would have to essentially restart the zoning process “unless someone else wants to develop the property under the same basic plan.”

Drive Shack/City of Chicago