Luxury living’s next essential amenity: Pickleball courts

Popular game is catching on at developments across the country

Pickleball courts are a hot new amenity. (Getty)
Pickleball courts are a hot new amenity. (Getty)

It’s a game whose brine has come.

Mansion Global is reporting that the hot new amenity at high-end retirement communities, housing developments and resorts is indoor and outdoor courts to play Pickleball — a nearly 60-year-old combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong that the nearly 4.8 people who play every day find dill-icious.

“Buyers are definitely asking about pickleball,” Wendy Pines, the sales director for the Casamar Residences, which has homes starting at $1.5 million, in Pompano Beach, Florida, told the publication. “They’re excited we’re going to have it on the property and it appeals to people of all ages.”

Pickleball plays like badminton minus the shuttlecock, substituting what was first a Whiffle ball (before settling on a plastic ball with multiple holes in it), and uses a more tennis-esque net and specialized racquets that are similar to, but larger than, those used to play ping-pong.

Its popularity has only increased since being invented in 1965 on Brainbridge Island in the state of Washington thanks to its simplicity of play, inexpensive equipment and popularity at community centers, school gym classes, parks, health clubs, YMCA facilities and retirement communities.

And that’s led to big-time builders factoring it into plans for new developments.

“Whether it’s a retirement community, a housing development that’s master-planned with a variety of product types for different ages and demographics or a private club, you name it, they’re adding pickle[ball],” Chicago-based designer Mary Cook, who specializes in multi-family developments and amenity facilities, told the publication.

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At the Standard Residences in Miami, which is expected to be completed in 2023, developers designed an indoor court that can double as a party room, with disco balls hanging from the ceiling. Spectators and players there will be offered branded apparel and paddles based Wes Anderson’s film “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

And at the Abaco Club in the Bahamas, where cottages are priced up to $3 million and villas are expected to be priced up to $12 million, an underutilized area was turned into lighted pickleball courts and a basketball half-court along a palm tree-lined road leading to the beach.

“It’s opened up the whole area and changed the dynamic,” Abaco Club’s director of outdoor pursuits Matt Young, told the publication. “Plans are underway to build an outlet of sorts, with a coffee stand in the mornings where people can sit and watch pickleball or have a cup of coffee in between games.”

Reps for the residential developer Optima, which owns properties in Scottsdale, Arizona and Chicago, said they’ve planned an outdoor pickleball stadium at a luxury apartment tower in Scottsdale.

“We’re excited to build resident programming around this newest feature, possibly hosting a tournament,” David Hovey Jr., the COO and principal architect of Optima, told the website.

With all those Pickleball plans in the works, it seems this trend won’t sour soon (yes, that pickle pun is intended).

[Mansion Global] — Vince DiMiceli