The area’s fastest-growing sport has big help on the way. Coming later this year, St. Pete Athletic is bringing a massive pickleball complex to the Burg, just as the sport is reaching a fever pitch in popularity throughout the city and country alike.
With the city’s two dozen pickleball courts jam packed pretty much all hours of the day, the team behind this new development knows there is not only a current demand, but a consistently growing demand for places to play the sport now experiencing a boom in participation. St. Pete Athletic expects to offer 16 new courts for area pickleballers to use, most likely with nine indoor and seven outdoor courts (though all courts will be “outdoor” style).
In addition to all the new courts, St. Pete Athletic will act as a true full-service facility with a full restaurant and bar, membership options, locker rooms and showers, a pro shop, event spaces, and spectator areas for watching all the action. They even plan to have table tennis, as well as pickleball leagues, tournaments and classes. The club is eyeing a location near the EDGE District for the expansive facility.
While St. Pete Athletic will have a robust membership program, it won’t be members-only, co-founder Reuben Pressman explained. Anyone can come use the professional-grade courts, paying by the hour or through a full day pass, and the restaurant overlooking the courts will of course be open to anyone to grab a bite before or after playing – or just to socialize and watch the action.
“We wanted to bring something that gave a great opportunity for all kinds of people to play,” Pressman said, “and we want to create that social and entertainment environment around it with food and beverage.”
Pressman stressed that the food and drink won’t just be an afterthought, and it certainly won’t be the typical ballpark food. And indeed, with Intermezzo owner Jarrett Sabatini as part of the founding trio, their crew more than has the hospitality chops to deliver something great.
St. Pete Athletic plans on its restaurant concept being a club-worthy establishment with fantastic dining and a superb drinks program. Additionally, according to St. Pete Athletic, a proposed boutique hotel is also in the works on the property, “allowing tournament players and visitors to stay and play in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.”
As for the pickleball itself, St. Pete Athletic already has plans for a wide range of activities and classes, beyond just the daily availability of courts. With the world’s No. 12 professional pickleball player, Travis Rettenmier, as part of the founding team, the lineup of tournaments and showcases will be robust. There will also be classes for players of all levels, as well as leagues for locals to join and compete in.
Learn more at stpeteathletic.com, and stay tuned to I Love the Burg for more information as the pickleball facility moves forward.
What to read next:
- Staff picks: Our favorite coffee shops in St. Pete
- Bodega, one of the top restaurants in St. Pete, celebrates 10 years in the EDGE District
- Burg Guides: The best breweries to visit in St. Pete
- Popular pizza food truck The Violet Stone opens brick and mortar restaurant in St. Pete