Property Flash


Guest piece by Ash Müller, broker at Ask Ash

While landlords, post-covid, spend many hours thinking outside of the box to reimagine real estate and their current property portfolios, one such commercial tenant is taking the commercial property world by storm and ironically it’s inside a box. Retailers are becoming more focused on customer experience when in store while industrial warehouses are in limited supply due to high demand. Introducing the perfect tenant for both outside and inside areas and one that provides a popular interactive experience for its customers: Padel.

What is Padel?

Padel is a mix between tennis and squash. I liken it to a more professional set up of beach bats. The game is fast and fun. All ages, genders and no matter how tall or small you are can play the game together. You need four people to play but a newly introduced Padel court in Paarden Eiland, Cape Town has introduced the country’s first two player court. Elian Wiener from Epic Padel mentions that while everyone can easily learn and enjoy padel, there is an exciting higher level of the sport that requires stamina, technique, mental strength and athletic ability.

What does the Padel set-up entail?

The first ever padel courts to hit South African shores were in Century City and Val die Vie. The Val die Vie courts have become so popular with residents that another four courts will be built by next year. Val die Vie’s ever-growing padel community of over 100 residents also hosts their own club leagues. 

More recently, a padel court opened at Claremont Bowling Club which was a great use of ‘tired’ land in need of some tlc. This new commercial tenant in town is taking odd areas and turning them into popular places for socialising and exercise. The well-known Spice Route farm in the Boland will also be completing their own padel courts at the end of this year, bringing even more exciting and unique activities to the wine farm experience.

Outdoor padel courts cost roughly R700 000 – R1 000 000 to construct including the civil costs. Epic Padel recently opened the largest indoor padel court centre in South Africa at Inospace’s Paarden Eiland industrial park – The Island. As most padel courts are outdoors, padel players will now be able to enjoy the game during the winter months when it rains.

Depending on what area you play in and for how long, on average you could pay a court rental fee of R400/hour and this cost can be split between your foir players. You need four people to play, new balls cost approximately R130 for three and bats are approximately R50 to rent each. The padel courts at Val de Vie are free for residents to make use of and are booked on a first come, first serve basis. 

Is Padel really that popular?

According to 2022 statistics, there are more than 25-million people playing padel worldwide in over 90 countries. When I asked Elian Wiener how many paddlers we have in South Africa he said about 30 000 – 50 000 players. This is an impressive amount considering that the sport is only four years old in South Africa. He also mentioned that Epic Padel has had over 8000 individual players through their four Epic Padel clubs alone and they launched their first club less than a year ago. The number of paddlers around the world is constantly growing as the sport gains more popularity.

I personally played my first padel game the other day. I really enjoy being able to play with multiple people of all ages. A lot of corporate companies are using the sport to network and team build while kids are also celebrating birthday parties at the padel centres. 

Padel and Property

Padel courts are opening up left, right and centre. The love of the game is addictive and it works in the favour of landlords who are looking to re-imagine their real estate. Warehouses can now be occupied by this non-traditional industrial user as well as areas of land that have been vacant and unused. 

Prepare for padel to continue its growth trajectory in transforming the general “use” in commercial property spaces. This along with other interactive centres such as Fives Futbol, City Rock rock climbing, kids play centres such as the IPIC play centre and the Hazendal PlayALot centre as well as the newly opened Total Ninja – obstacle and inflatable park in Black River Park, Observatory Cape Town. All of these centres transform commercial property as we know it and lease thousands of square meters on long lease terms to provide their customers with an interactive user experience that adds value to the property. It also adds value to the neighbouring tenants who make use of these centres.

Padel can be an expensive exercise (literally) if you enjoy practising often. I am looking forward to seeing some competitors come into the space and to make this game even more accessible and affordable. I am always a fan of a little healthy competition and there is certainly an opportunity for it here.

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