Pickleball and Real Estate
- A guest post by Josh Maine at Pickleballadvisor
The fastest growing sport in the U.S; pickleball, has seen a growth rate of 158.6% over the last 3 years. With over 130 new courts being built nationwide every month, real estate developers are taking note and turning underperforming retail spaces into indoor pickleball courts to cash in on the “pickleball gold rush”. Let us dive into the world of where pickleball meets real estate!
The Rise of Pickleball in America
Pickleball, once a small-scale backyard game, is now America’s fastest-growing sport. As of 2022, more than 36.5 million Americans over the age of six are pickleball players. There are currently 10,320 courts in the U.S with a forecasted growth rate of 7.7% annually. The easy-to-play game has garnered the likes from all ages with the average being 38.1 years old. A pickleball paddle and a ball is all it takes to start, making it accessible to all players.
Pickleball has become extremely accessible with the number of facilities around the country. Couple that with its affordability to play and easy learning curve, it’s no wonder why players are flocking to the sport. The rush to pickleball is changing the landscape of real estate. Tennis courts are converting into pickleball courts and once abandoned malls are becoming indoor playing facilities.
How Pickleball is Invading the Real Estate World
Pickleball is making its mark on the real estate world by filling vacant spaces in markets nationwide and serving as a modern amenity for commercial properties.
Filling Vacant Spaces in Markets Nationwide
Pickleball is a very lucrative business for real estate developers. According to Picklemall founder, Steve Kuhn, there is one tennis court per 30 tennis players, but only one pickleball court per 250 pickleball players. As a result, investors like Kuhn have turned shuttered malls, like the one in Tempe, AZ into a 24-court facility. A pickleball court has a much smaller footprint than a tennis court to build. With a $99.99/person membership fee, Pickleball sees a promising ROI.
Serving as a Modern Amenity for Commercial Properties
Since covid, it’s no shock to see that mall foot traffic has declined. A June 2022 report shows a 6.7% YOY decline at outlet malls. Commercial spaces are switching up their strategy to attract shoppers. Owners of such properties need new tenants to fill vacant retail spaces outside the traditional department store. Consumers want an experience. As a result, pickleball has become an interest of developers seeking to enter the space.
Pickleball America has turned an 80,000 square-foot Saks 5th store into the largest indoor pickleball court in America. An outdoor mall in St. Louis plans to fill a bankrupt Bed Bath & Beyond store into a pickleball club. A former Burlington store in New Jersey and an Old Navy store in New Hampshire have turned into pickleball clubs.
Landlords are beginning to understand the value of offering such a unique amenity to attract new varieties of demographics. These facilities transform otherwise unused areas into bustling hubs of community engagement. The cost for constructing these courts ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 each – an investment that often yields rich dividends by drawing foot traffic and sparking new leases, thereby serving as a profitable venture in commercial real estate space.
The Future of Pickleball and Real Estate
The future of pickleball and commercial real estate looks promising. With pickleball being the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., it continues to gain popularity, leading to increased demand for facilities and spaces dedicated to the sport. With projections indicating a significant increase in the number of pickleball players in the coming years, there will be a continued need for more pickleball courts across the country. The future of pickleball and commercial real estate intertwines as both industries stand to benefit from each other’s growth and success. The pickleball market was valued at 1.34 billion in 2022. With developers investing significant capital in converting retail spaces into courts, it’s likely pickleball is here to stay.
Overall, as more people discover and embrace pickleball, its impact on commercial real estate will only grow stronger. It’s clear that this sport goes beyond just recreational activities but also serves as an attractive amenity that can enhance property values.
Pickleball is taking the world by storm and is starting to make its way into the world of commercial real estate. Its low construction costs and unmet demand is offering unique opportunities for landlords to fill vacant spaces and attract new tenants. As the demand continues to grow, you can expect to see more commercial properties incorporating the new sport of pickleball into their store. Be prepared to see a pickleball court in a mall near you, shaping the future of pickleball in commercial real estate.
What is the relationship between pickleball and commercial real estate?
The addition of pickleball courts in commercial real estate properties such as malls keeps customers coming back. Many people claim malls are dying, by adapting to consumer trends pickleball could be just what saves this slowing retail industry.
Why are real estate developers interested in pickleball?
Real estate developers are interested in pickleball because it attracts tenants, boosts community sports engagement, and contributes to experiential retail. It’s also a vital aspect of sporting demographics needed for urban planning.
Can an industrial or office space become a pickleball court?
Yes! With proper construction approval, design, and zoning any industrial or office space can indeed be retrofitted into an indoor tournament arena for Pickleball if the space allows for a 20×44 ft court.
How many malls have converted to pickleball Courts?
As of 2023, we have counted 6 malls that transformed from an empty space into a pickleball court. However, Picklemall has plans to open 50 additional locations in indoor strip malls across the U.S in the next 24 months.
Can residential properties benefit from pickleball amenities?
Residential areas located near Pickle ball courts can serve as an attractive selling point.