The San Francisco Bay Area is the planned location for a huge new waterside pickleball development.
“An Exciting Opportunity”
The waterfront Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California, which was once the site of a World War II jeep and tank factory could soon feature one of the largest indoor pickleball venues in the U.S.
PB Development Group plans to convert the cavernous 45,000-square-foot glass-enclosed former Sunwest Bank building in Newport Beach, Orange County, into a new pickleball club.
The facility will consist of 16 indoor courts, along with amenities like a pro shop, stretching lounge, smoothie bar, and full-service restaurant. The proposed club would offer lessons, leagues, and tournaments for the popular paddle sport. Pricing details have not yet been announced.
Rachel Hong, the founder of the Women’s International Pickleball Association and principal of PB Development Group said, “It’s an exciting opportunity to change the landscape of the waterfront. I think this will drive a lot of people down there to utilize it.”
Free Community Days
Hong said she wants to include the public through programs such as free community days, paid day passes, outreach to local schools and lessons for residents:
“I am very much about equitability and people from all walks of life being able to play the sport. I don’t see it as a country club sport and I want to make sure it stays that way.”
“This is fantastic,” said Darlene Vendegna of Oakland. She is a pickleball teacher and a USA Pickleball Association ambassador. “There are so few places to play in the Bay Area. To have an actual indoor facility, which means we can play day or night, rain or shine, sun or fog, is huge.”
She believes a minimum of 4,000 East Bay residents play regularly.
A Historic Site
However, certain critics argue that transforming the Craneway into a private sports club contradicts the original purpose of this historic site, which was intended to be a community space accommodating a diverse range of activities.
These activities included hosting events like Richmond’s annual Third of July celebration, concerts, trade shows, weddings, and various cultural and entertainment gatherings.
Additionally, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also functioned as a temporary hospital, though it never received any patients.
Former Richmond mayor Tom Butt said, “I would like to see it continue to be used for public events like it has been. I’d hate to see it become a dedicated site as a sports venue. You can play pickleball anywhere. It’s not an activity that needs to happen right on the waterfront in a world-class site like this.”
Follow the Craneway Pavillion on Twitter for more updates on the facility’s grand opening.
California is a hotbed of pickleball activity and we’ve covered many subjects related to the Golden State in these great articles.
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