As first reported in Crain’s Chicago Business, “Cullerton backing new Wrigleyville golf venture”
“The former Illinois Senate president is part of a group aiming to open a golf simulator venue and bar across from Wrigley Field.
If the city signs off, the virtual golf franchise could open as soon as late this year in the two-story former Starbucks across from Wrigley Field, said Garritt Cullerton, who’s working on the project on behalf of his former state senator father.
The venue would be the first in the city of Chicago for Los Angeles-based X-Golf America, which offers golf simulators in bar and restaurant settings and has been growing quickly this year through new franchise agreements. The Wrigleyville space, which at different points was home to Hi-Tops, Harry Caray’s Tavern, O’Malley’s Liquor Kitchen and a Starbucks that shuttered in 2019, would include eight golf simulator bays and a golf pro on staff to offer lessons and work corporate events, Garritt Cullerton said.
Other Chicago-area locations have opened in north suburban Glenview and Libertyville.
The Wrigleyville plan is a bet on a strong comeback for post-pandemic entertainment options around Wrigley Field, an area that has been flooded with them in recent years as the owners of the Chicago Cubs redeveloped the area around the stadium.
Restaurants and retailers there endured a debilitating gut punch in 2020 with COVID-induced restrictions on gathering and the Cubs playing a partial season in front of no fans, but the crowds have returned over the past month, with Wrigley Field back to full capacity.
“We just thought that Wrigleyville was just the right neighborhood for it,” said Garritt Cullerton, a real estate agent for residential brokerage Compass and whose former DePaul roommates are co-investors in the project with his father.
“What (Cubs ownership and other developers) have done to the neighborhood is pretty incredible,” Cullerton added. “I think post-pandemic it’s going to be a hub of entertainment and people will be itching to get out. I think it will come back well.”
Cullerton said X-Golf Wrigleyville would sign a 10-year lease for the full building, which is owned by a family trust of late Wrigleyville real estate investor James Petrozzini, according to the zoning application.
Jim Saccone, who manages the property on behalf of the trust, confirmed the owners are finalizing a lease with the Cullerton venture and said X-Golf seems like a good fit for the neighborhood. “I’m trying to put something back in there, and I think the concept should go over well,” he said.
Garritt Cullerton, who grew up just blocks from Wrigley Field but prefers the Chicago White Sox to the North Siders, said the plans germinated last fall as the pandemic wreaked havoc on bar owners, devastation he deemed temporary.”
The X-Golf Wrigleyville location information can be found here.