The Grand National Racquet Center has taken its next major step toward construction.
Birch Dalton, managing director of EdgeRock Development Corp., said the master development plan for infrastructure, roads and utilities was received in April from the City of Westfield. Dalton is with Grand National Racquet Center, LLC, which will own and operate the facility.
“You figure it will take the summer to get the roads and utilities in, then we can start in the fall,” Dalton said.
The roads and utilities are for the commercial project and for David Weekley Homes’ 350 lots, a separate development planned north of the Grand National Racquet Center. Dalton said the Grand National Racquet Center, at 191st Street between Spring Mill Road and Tomlinson Road, is a privately funded development. The master developer of the overall master development is 191st Land Acquisition LLC, while the main work on roads tied to the project will be later this month.
With the master development plan, the indoor courts will be open before the end of 2024, based on the current supply market for building materials, Dalton said.
In addition to the Grand National Racquet Center, there will be 200 Airbnbs, apartments and a large family entertainment center. There will be a wedding chapel and reception hall.
“We are going to start taking membership applications this fall for both the founders and platinum memberships,” Dalton said. “This is going to be a private club with a public access, with the founders (20 available) and platinum members (maximum of 400) having higher-end amenities.”
There will be gold base members and silver memberships for people 55 and older.
“Pickleball really took off in that 55 and older group originally but now all ages are playing,” Dalton said.
Dalton is leasing the Grand Park Events Center for a national pickleball tournament from Dec. 15 to Jan. 7, 2024, for a national tournament of open play for area players to promote the new facility and small corporate sales events for work and play events.
“It’s going to be one of the largest national pickleball tournaments in the country,” Dalton said. “We’re going to have 40 indoor courts. We’re going to have a college tournament and maybe a high school tournament.”
In the new Grand National Racquet Center, there also will be playing opportunities for tennis, squash, badminton and pickleball.
“We’re projecting 36 indoor pickleball, 10 indoor tennis courts and seven squash courts,” Dalton said. “We’ll have seven indoor squash (courts) and (a) utility gym. The utility gym is not for basketball, per se, but when you have big tournaments, you have to have a big area to register people. You can shoot around in it or have yoga.”
There also are plans for a pro shop, restaurant, spa, fitness center and locker room inside the facility.
The Airbnbs are designed to serve Grand Park visitors and the new facility.
“You can’t have long-term leases in them,” Dalton said.
Dalton said the city’s Planning Commission and the City of Westfield did their due diligence for the plan. Dalton’s company is developing 50 acres.
“We’re going to pack a lot of restaurants and bars up there to keep the crowd here in Westfield,” he said. “The family entertainment center will have an arcade and maybe bowling and laser flash.”
Dalton said his initial plan was to build indoor tennis courts because that is the sport he plays.
“Then all the pickleball people came to me to say, if you are doing tennis, you really should be doing pickleball,” he said. “I had a company from California (whose) feasibility study showed pickleball scored off the charts because there isn’t any indoor pickleball around the area.”