Club de Padel’s plans for Manchester city centre
Three Manchester friends with a passion for padel are set to bring the sport to the heart of the city with bold plans for courts on a ‘meanwhile’ prime site.
Club de Padel is the brainchild of David Blake, Matt McKinlay and James Wigglesworth, who are awaiting final planning approval for four outdoor courts in the city’s Deansgate Square.
The trio aim to deliver an inclusive facility offering coaching, social matches, tournaments and corporate events. Playtomic has been signed up to provide the booking platform, a manned clubhouse is planned to provide food, drink, merchandise and equipment hire and there will be covered seating for socialising.
The site forms part of Manchester developer Renaker’s masterplan for regenerating the area and is earmarked for phase three of its Great Jackson Street scheme, a collection of skyscraper apartment blocks. Like Padium, in London’s Canary Wharf, Club de Padel will occupy the site on a ‘meanwhile’ basis until the development moves forward.
Club de Padel was originally planned as a one court pop-up for summer but, as David explained, the plans changed: “We initially approached Renaker to operate a single pop-up padel court in the courtyard at Deansgate Square for the summer – and they were really keen. But then this larger plot of land became available so we thought ‘why build one court for a few months when we could build four courts for years?’ Renaker have been a great partner in this as they’re really committed to their placemaking strategy.”
The friends – David and Matt met at university and Matt has worked with James (brother of England Rugby Union coach and former professional player Richard Wigglesworth) for a number of years – have already been approached about developing a second site and have aspirations to establish Club de Padel as a ‘really cool’ urban padel brand targeting high footfall, high population locations.
But for now Deansgate Square is their focus, as David explained: “Ever since we first encountered padel in Barcelona several years ago we have been desperate to bring this amazing sport to Manchester. The closest public court is 40 minutes away and we wondered how it could be that the fastest growing sport in the world hadn’t yet arrived in one of the most famous sporting cities in the world. So we decided to do something about it.
“Deansgate Square is one of the most exciting new neighbourhoods in the north, with thousands of residents. It’s not often an opportunity like this, to bring something entirely new to a city like Manchester on a site surrounded by some of the most impressive skyscrapers in the country, comes along. We can’t wait to get going!” said David.
“It’s just so addictive,” added Matt. “Everyone who plays loves it right away. The city centre location is ideal for both residents and professionals looking for a new way to socialise and network. The community aspect is something that’s very important to us. We want everyone from school kids to young professionals to older residents to come along and give padel a go.” 🎾