Pickleball Complex Coming To Castle Hayne Next Year

Tidewater Pickleball Park.

Tidewater Pickleball Park is planned to open sometime next year off North College Road in Castle Hayne.

July 17th, 2023

A sprawling pickleball complex will break ground in the Castle Hayne area later this year. 

Tidewater Pickleball Park is slated to bring a 23-court facility to the area. Designed to meet a growing demand for the sport, the complex will feature a restaurant, pro shop, locker rooms and more at 5000 N. College Road. 

“We are talking to several potential partners for this project and venture,” said Merrette Moore, managing investor for Tidewater Investment Co. 

Tidewater Investment Co. conceived of the idea and is spearheading plans to bring the park to fruition. The private investment firm offers participation on a deal-by-deal basis.

The planned pickleball park promises a “best-in-class recreational and social experience” meant to address a demand mismatch that the market isn’t currently addressing, according to June presentation materials on the project. 

Plans include 14 uncovered and eight covered outdoor courts and one stadium-style court adjoining a roughly 5,000- square-foot building. The building will contain an indoor and outdoor dining and bar experience and an arcade. The fastcasual restaurant will feature a rooftop lounge with a view of the courts. 

While there are opportunities to play pickleball in the region, few are dedicated solely to the sport. In many public parks, tennis courts are temporarily converted for pickleball players. These temporary courts are less desirable, the project materials assert, and lack amenities. 

A “unique open-roof structure” will be incorporated for the outdoor courts, according to a release by the project’s architect, Mark Loudermilk Architecture. “In proportion to its increasing popularity in the area, however, Wilmington has a notable scarcity of dedicated pickleball courts,” the release states. “A quick glance at the Cape Fear Pickleball Club’s website reveals that most spaces allowing for pickleball play are actually improvised from existing tennis courts.”

Developers intend to offer memberships and cater to a range of ages and skill levels. Tournaments and events will drive business at the facility, according to the Tidewater presentation. 

Tidewater has identified the potential to replicate the business model, if successful in Wilmington, across several locations along the East and Gulf coasts. Coastal areas that have warm weather, retirees and business-friendly cultures are ideal, the presentation states. 

Tidewater secured rezoning approval from New Hanover County for the site in June 2022. The county gave the investment team the OK to conditionally rezone 8 acres of vacant land from R-15 to community mixed-use. 

Moore said his team’s expectation is to have the facility open by either summer or fall of 2024. 

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