Pickleball club planned at former Horton Fan Factory building in Carmel

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The Dink House will open in early April at 201 W. Carmel Dr. with eight full-length cushioned pickleball courts. (Rendering courtesy The Dink House)

A semi-private pickleball club is expected to open this spring at the former Horton Fan Factory building along the Monon Greenway in Carmel.

The Dink House will open in early April at 201 W. Carmel Dr. with eight full-length cushioned pickleball courts, two dinking (practice) courts, a players’ lounge and a members-only kitchen and bar that will serve beer and wine, according to co-owner Tom Davidson.

The Dink House will offer four membership levels: founder, gold, silver and bronze. Members will pay initiation fees ranging from $100 (bronze) to $2,500 (founder), while annual fees will range from $900 (bronze) to $1,500 (founder).

Non-member access will be available for a $20 drop-in fee, plus a $40 per hour court rental charge with 24-hour notice.

“It’s really kind of a country-club pickleball facility atmosphere,” Davidson said.

Davidson is partnering with Sue Estep, who co-owns Roundtripper Sports Academy in Westfield with her husband Chris Estep.

Davidson, a Carmel resident, founded Pastime Tournaments in 2006. The company organizes baseball travel tournaments. In 2021, he started the Amateur Pickleball Association, which runs pickleball tournaments around the country. He was an IBJ 40 Under 40 honoree in 2014.

The Dink House will occupy 20,000 square feet on the southwest corner of the former Horton Fan Factory Building. Hollywood Cheer and Tumble also occupies space in the 80,000-square-foot building.

Davidson said he pulled ideas, such as the dinking courts, from other pickleball facilities he has visited around the country. The 25-foot ceiling height was what first attracted him to the former Horton Fan Factory building.

“They’re so high, and it’s hard to get those at a normal building,” he said.

He added that the building’s location on the Monon Greenway has been a selling point to people interested in becoming members. The Dink House has sold about 100 memberships so far. Davidson said he will offer a maximum of 700 memberships.

“The proximity to the restaurants and bars in that area for players that want to go grab a drink or some dinner or something like that after they play, that’s a perfect spot,” Davidson said. “We have several members that have already confirmed their membership with us that the perk for this location was just simply I could walk down the Monon to get there.”

Davidson plans to open additional Dink House locations in the Indianapolis area.

Real estate executive Turner Woodard purchased the Horton Fan Factory building in 2022 for $4.75 million. The factory was built in the 1970s on a 5.5-acre property. Horton occupied the site from 2005 to 2020 before it sold the facility to Woodard.

Woodard, who bought and revived the historic Stutz Motorcar Co. factory near downtown Indianapolis before selling it in 2021, also acquired two other properties in Carmel—the former Rich’s Home Furnishings building at 1030 S. Rangeline Road and the Keltner Business Plaza at 520 W. Carmel Drive.

The former Rich’s Home Furnishings building has been redeveloped into an art and automobile gallery with for-lease boutique office space and an office for Woodard’s company, Turner James Investment.

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5 thoughts on “Pickleball club planned at former Horton Fan Factory building in Carmel

  1. When Engineered Cooling Systems began operations there in 1973, a woman came rushing in past the receptionist with her tennis racquet and headed up the stairs. She sheepishly returned to the lobby and asked how to find the Carmel Racquet. It won’t provide as many jobs as ECS and Horton did, but they’ll do fine.

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