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New Jersey pickleball scene is growing fast with 2 huge facilities coming soon

New Jersey’s Freehold Athletic Club is planning to open a 30,000-square-foot pickleball court in a mall where a Sears anchor store closed in 2019.

News of that development in Freehold comes days after Robbinsville Township announced that a pickleball complex twice that size will open in a former soccer bubble about 20 miles away in the fall.

“It’s just one of the most popular, fastest-growing games out there,” Freehold Athletic Club Jim Carr told the Asbury Park Press earlier this week.

Carr’s pickleball facility is part of larger gym hoping to get permission to move forward with construction inside the Freehold Raceway Mall roughly 45 miles south of Manhattan. NJ.com said the pickleball facility will take up much of what used to be the lower level of a 72,000-square-foot retail operation that’s been vacant for nearly five years.

Robbinsville Township meanwhile calls its new 2- court facility “the largest pickleball facility in the Northeast.” Operating as The Robbinsville Pickle House, the collaboration with the USA Pickleball organization will include a restaurant and bar.

But Connecticut’s Stamford Town Center Mall may take exception to Robbinsville’s bold claim.

That recently converted pickleball hotspot is housed in an 80,000-square-foot space that was once a Saks Fifth Avenue. More than a dozen courts operate in the facility, according to a Fox 5 report. It’s said to be “the largest indoor two-story court in the United States.”

The Connecticut venue ultimately expects to house 27 courts following a planned expansion that’ll grow to take over the entire 80,000 square feet.

Large commercial spaces looking for tenants have benefitted from pickleball’s surging popularity, especially as traditional retailers have given way to online shopping. In Puerto Rico, a 14-court facility called Pickleball at the Mall took over the Mall of San Juan in 2023 where a Nordstrom formerly operated.

Pickleball has been the fastest growing sport in the country for the past three years, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. The tennis-inspired game has reportedly grown by 223.5% since 2020.

The USA Pickleball said 1,140 new locations popped up in the past year. New York is home to more than 400 of those venues, which offer 1,456 pickleball courts.


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