8 pickleball courts coming to former fan factory building in Carmel


The Dink House will help take on the demand for more pickleball courts in Carmel.

It is set to occupy 20,000 square feet of the space in the building previously home to the Horton Fan Factory. Turner Woodard purchased the 80,000-square-foot facility at 201 W. Carmel Dr. in January 2022.

CIC DOUGH 0109 The Dink House 2

The Dink House, which co-owner Tom Davidson said will likely open in April, is on the southwest side of the building, which places it near Monon Trail.

“We’ll have eight cushioned full-sized courts under that one roof with a players’ lounge,” Davidson said. “We’ll have two dinking courts for warmup and practice. Probably 65 percent of the game involves dinking (a soft shot designed to limit the opponent from making an attacking shot) at some point. The ceilings are extremely high for most pickleball venues, which is great for us to have. We’ve brought in state-of-the-art lighting.”

Davidson said the eight courts are surrounded by fencing so balls don’t roll onto other courts.

“There were six poles in these 20,000 square feet that had to be moved 12 feet west so we could have five courts going in one direction and have 60 feet of space,” Davidson said. “That’s what we’re going through right now is approval from the state to move those poles.”

Davidson said the plan is to have extra-long courts to enhance the experience for players.

Davidson co-owns The Dink House with fellow Carmel resident Sue Estep, who co-owns Roundtripper Sports Academy in Westfield with her husband, Chris Estep.

Davidson started Pastime Tournaments, a travel baseball tournament company, in 2006.

“So, my background is in event management,” he said. “In 2021, I started the Amateur Pickleball Association for tournaments. We’ve run weekend tournaments around the country, probably 70 or 80 a year.”

The Dink House will likely eventually have eight to 12 employees, Davidson said.

“This is a membership-based facility,” Davidson said. “Several membership opportunities will have 24-hour access. The others will have the normal booking times from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.”

Hollywood Cheer and Tumble also recently moved into the building.

T.J. Woodard, Turner’s son and head asset manager for Turner James Investments, said there will be a little bit of everything in the space.

“There is going to be gymnastics, dance and some music and instructional classroom,” he said. “There will be sports and athletic training. There are a host of things going in there that haven’t been fully decided on yet. There are going to be a lot of very interactive tenants. It’s going to be a lot better use than an old fan factory.”

For more, thedinkhouse.com.