South Xtra: New owner revives Cool Springs Golf Center

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Brian Shanahan didn't like what one of his favorite places to go as a kid had turned into over the past decade.

So the Upper St. Clair native and CEO of CardConnect did something about it.

Shanahan purchased Cool Springs Golf Center at a sheriff's sale in October for $1.66 million, revived it and opened the new complex in Bethel Park to the public July 14.

"Some of my fondest memories are being dropped off there by my parents and going to the batting cages and hitting golf balls and playing mini golf," Shanahan said. "It was a great place to go as a kid. But it's been depressing these last 10 to 15 years to see it go downhill.

Shanahan, who also had a silent partner in the purchase in FTV managing partner Richard Garman, has big dreams for the 55-acre complex.

Phase 1 of the construction of the complex is already completed, and includes: an 18-hole miniature golf that spans seven acres, the longest east of the Mississippi River; a turf driving range with targets; aboutGolf Simulator Technology; two bars; and the Fairway Grille, a quick-service food provider.

Meanwhile, dirt has already been moved for Phase 2 of the construction process, according to Cool Springs director of marketing and business development Lynette Stevens. Stevens said the second phase calls for a 172,000-square-foot indoor sports facility that will have a FIFA regulation-sized field for soccer, lacrosse and football and baseball, three full-sized basketball courts and a fitness center.

Additionally, just last Thursday it was announced that through a partnership, Allegheny Health Network will have an orthopedic presence at the complex.

"'[Allegheny Health Network CEO] John Paul is a friend of mine, and we had lunch probably about eight months ago and he told me he loved what we were doing with the complex and wanted to get involved," Shanahan said.

Additionally, Phase 2 will include a Dek hockey structure and outdoor multi-use fields.

Stevens said the second phase could be completed by the summer of 2015, and Cool Springs is already in talks to host events.

"We're already talking with organizations about multi-year lease commitments, but we're absolutely looking to host different tournaments and camps during the weekends, too," Stevens said.

Cool Springs is already open to the public, with Shanahan saying the complex has gotten 300-400 people per day through its first week after the soft opening.

On Saturday, the complex is hosting a grand reopening event, starting at 11 a.m., with different contests, a silent auction, a balloon artist and live music starting at 6:30 p.m. Also, KDKA-FM (93.7) will be broadcasting live from location at noon.

It's just the start of what Shanahan hopes are big things to come for the place he had many fond memories of growing up.

"My ultimate goal is for this to be a 55-acre sports entertainment destination that young people, families, older people, everyone can come visit and have fun," he said. "You can work out, do physical training, play soccer, golf, mini-golf, eat. I want it to be the Kennywood of sports entertainment."

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