PickleMall plans indoor pickleball facility at former Vernon Hills Toys R Us

PickleMall Inc., which recently opened a 24-court site in Arizona, is looking to convert a vacant space in Vernon Hills as part of its plan to open 50 centers in two years.

SHARE PickleMall plans indoor pickleball facility at former Vernon Hills Toys R Us
PickleMall Inc. is proposing an indoor pickleball facility with 14 to 15 courts at the former Toys R Us store in Vernon Hills. PickleMall recently opened in Arizona and plans to open 50 locations throughout the U.S. in the next two years.

PickleMall Inc. is proposing an indoor pickleball facility with 14 to 15 courts at the former Toys R Us store in Vernon Hills. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S.

Courtesy of Vernon Hills

The former Toys R Us store in Vernon Hills could be converted to an indoor pickleball facility by the end of the year.

PickleMall Inc., backed by Major League Pickleball founder Steve Kuhn, is proposing its second location and first Midwest center in the big box space at the west end of the Townline Commons shopping center.

The startup just opened a 24-court facility in Tempe, Arizona, and is looking to capitalize on demand for the sport by opening 50 PickleMalls across the country over the next two years.

Tamara Jones (from left), Jeanie Mui, Doug Nebel and Becca Allistar tap their paddles after a pickleball game Aug. 1 at Roosevelt Park in Chicago.

Tamara Jones (from left), Jeanie Mui, Doug Nebel and Becca Allistar tap their paddles after a pickleball game Aug. 1 at Roosevelt Park in Chicago.

Owen Ziliak/Sun-Times

According to the company, PickleMall combines the adaptive reuse of vacant mall spaces, cutting-edge technology to help players track and improve their games, and a genuine passion for the game.

PickleMall is seeking a special use permit from Vernon Hills to operate a recreational facility in a general business district. The company also will need a building use certificate due to the amount of retail space being removed from the shopping center.

Official approvals are pending, but the village board has informally and enthusiastically endorsed the concept.

“I think there’s a demand. I think there’s a very big demand,” village Trustee Michael Schenk said during a presentation last week.

Pickleball is said to be the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. and usually associated with park districts or public agencies. But its popularity is driving private enterprises to try and cash in on demand.

For more on this story, go to dailyherald.com.

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