The Tampa Pickleball Crew is opening a facility in Ybor City, the group announced Tuesday.
A 70-year-old warehouse in developer Darryl Shaw’s Gas Worx project in Ybor City will be converted to an indoor pickleball facility with seven courts. It’s located at 1701 E Second Ave. and is set to open in spring this year.
“We’re thrilled to take the passion of pickleball from retrofitted tennis courts to a custom-built and climate-friendly experience for our athletes,” said Tampa Bay Pickleball Crew partner Kayla Goldman in a statement. “Our goal is to create a fun and friendly environment for people of all skill levels to come together, socialize, and play.”
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. since the pandemic. The sport, which is similar to tennis but requires smaller courts and uses a ball like a wiffle ball, grew to 8.9 million players over three years, according to a 2023 Sports & Fitness Industry Association report. It grew 85% in 2022.
More courts are popping up around the Tampa Bay region as cities convert tennis courts for pickleball, causing tension with tennis players.
Other developers are also aiming to build more courts. A Sarasota-based developer is working on 15 complexes across the state, including one in Lakewood Ranch, and said they see potential in building more in Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg or Tampa in the future. Last month, developers in St. Pete announced they’re building a 16-court facility downtown to meet the high demand for the sport.
“Bringing indoor pickleball courts to Ybor seemed like a natural fit,” Shaw said in a statement. “The goal is to activate the space with a positive and healthy experience for the entire community.”
Shaw’s Gas Worx project in partnership with Washington, D.C.-based developer Kettler began construction Monday with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. The development is one of the biggest projects in the city, alongside Water Street and Midtown Tampa. It’s set to connect the historic Ybor City with the Channel District, Water Street and an affordable housing development along downtown known as Encore. Gas Worx plans to add 5,000 residences, including 325 units of affordable housing, up to 500,000 square feet of office space and 140,000 square feet of retail.
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The 50-acre Gas Worx project aims to be pedestrian-focused, with more walking, running and biking space and access to the TECO Street Car Line. Gas Worx’s first buildings, a 317-unit apartment complex, are set to open next year.
Shaw is also working on another project south of Gas Worx near Port Tampa Bay called Ybor Harbor that would convert industrial land into a walkable waterfront neighborhood with more than 2,000 residences, a marina, pier and “floating islands,” according to plans filed with the city of Tampa.
The Tampa Pickleball Crew was co-founded by Susan Forsyth, Jennifer Plummer, Dené Williamson and Goldman. The courts will have open and reserved times, which can be reserved on an app daily. They’ll also offer lessons, clinics, tournaments and space for private events and retail. Memberships will range from four hours of playing time each month to 30 hours.