Tampa Pickleball Crew has signed a lease for the 28,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, which will be converted into at least seven courts, with initial renovations budgeted at less than $100,000. It will open in late spring or early summer. The warehouse is owned by Gas Worx developer Darryl Shaw. Tampa Pickleball Crew is owned by Susan Forsyth, Jen Plummer, Dené Williamson, and Kayla Goldman.
A membership-based indoor pickleball club in Tampa, Fla. plans to revitalize an Ybor City warehouse owned by Gas Worx developer Darryl Shaw, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported.
Tampa Pickleball Crew has signed a lease for the 28,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, which will be converted into at least seven courts, with initial renovations budgeted at less than $100,000, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported. It will open in late spring or early summer; the club will hold its inaugural tournament on April 1 at Cuscaden Park in Tampa.
Projects like Tampa Pickleball Crew are among Shaw’s favorites, he told the Tampa Bay Business Journal on March 6. He likened it to Pete’s Bagels, which recently opened in a space he owns, adjacent to a dog park Shaw built under the nonprofit Friends of Ybor Inc.
Gas Worx, which Shaw is building in partnership with Washington, D.C.-based Kettler, is a $500 million, multiyear project, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported. While it’s under construction, Shaw said, projects like the pickleball facility and Pete’s Bagels are critical.
“It activates the area,” Shaw said. “It’s not about the buildings — it’s about the people who are here, and it’s about amenitizing the district.”
Pickleball is one way to activate an area: The sport has exploded in popularity in recent years, with more than 36.5 million people in the U.S. playing pickleball between August 2021 and August 2022, according to data the Association of Pickleball Professionals released to CNBC in early 2023.
The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported the Tampa Pickleball Crew has four owners: best friends and pickleball enthusiasts Susan Forsyth and Jen Plummer, who are designing the space; Dené Williamson, associate professor of sports business at St. Leo University and sports enterprise account executive for media company Snipitz; and Kayla Goldman, founder and CEO of social media marketing agency Sunny Collabs.
The four partners are funding the startup costs and do not plan to take on outside investors or debt, The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported.
The concept has its roots in a problem that Forsyth and Plummer faced as avid pickleballers: They often couldn’t find available courts, and when they did, it was raining or oppressively hot, The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported. They began looking for real estate where they could launch a membership-based club, and Williamson learned of their plans through her partner, who plays pickleball with them.
Forsyth and Goldman have been acquainted for years since Goldman hired her son at Camp Tampa, a boutique fitness studio where Goldman was previously managing partner, The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported
“It’s going to have an industrial feel, a very cool vibe,” Plummer said. “It’ll be comfortable for everyone.”
Goldman, who also worked in franchise development with Orangetheory Fitness, said Tampa Pickleball Crew will be similar to boutique fitness studios in that there are tiered memberships, The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported. They range from four to 30 hours per month, and pricing will range from $5 to $8 per hour. Their early research shows that an average client will visit the facility three times per week.
Fostering a sense of community, Goldman said, is a key part of the business plan.
“It’s really important that our facility is accessible and welcoming,” she said.
The partners were connected with Shaw through Williamson’s friend James Nozar, the former CEO of Strategic Property Partners, The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported. Williamson said she discussed the concept with Nozar in late January; by Feb. 13, the partners were meeting with Shaw.
Shaw, Williamson said, immediately was on board with the concept.
“Darryl wants to activate the space,” she said, “and he saw our vision to do that through activity and exercise.”
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