How can you turn a former department store of 70,000 square feet into something more social?
Anna Valero is the co-founder and President of Pirate Ventures. She says that 'a lot of paint' would be a good place to start. "A lot of paint for the warehouse." You'll find more five-gallon buckets in this warehouse than you could ever imagine.
Pirate Ventures, which converted the former Forman Mills in MRP Realty's Bryant Street Mixed-Use Development in Northeast D.C., will reveal the full details in mid-May. The next version of the Kraken brand will feature more than a dozen indoor pickleball courts and courtside cabanas. It is also one of, if no other, the only privately operated indoor roller-skating arenas in the District. There's plenty of space for large group events.
Valero gave Washington Business Journal an exclusive sneak peek at the venue. The soft opening was held on Wednesday. Some design elements are similar in style to those found at Hook Hall and Kraken Axes & Rage Room. Flexibility is the biggest element in common. Valero wanted the pickleball courts, skating areas, and other features of the venue to be used to their fullest potential, but also to be able to reconfigure it for an art exhibition or farmer's markets.
We learned that people are looking for curated experiences. Valero is a recent profile who said that people want to be sure of what they will get when they arrive. How can we make planning an outing for your team easier for HR?
Pirate Ventures designed Kraken Kourts so that it has its own unique feel. Or at least, as much as is possible considering the location. Chris Lynch (@URL) painted a colorful mural up against the skating area on the wall opposite. The mural includes Kraken's Logo, a Sea Monster, on a background that also features the D.C. Flag, New Balance Sneakers, and a Crystal Ball. Valero said that 'you cannot have a skating rink without disco balls'.
The website for the pickleball venue has a pun: "We're kinda a big dill." MRP Realty is looking to use the entertainment concept for Bryant Street. The mixed-use development includes an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and the Van Gogh Exhibition, as well as a food hall called Bryant Street Market.
Kraken Kourts is a partner of the D.C. Pickleball Team which will hold community programs and practices at the venue. Major League Pickleball has endorsed it, as well as local sports leagues such D.C. and other sporting events. Fray, Stonewall, and Volo. Joola is a Rockville-based pickleball equipment manufacturer. Visitors will see Joola nets and paddles on the site.
Adam Behnke is the chief operating officer of D.C. Pickleball. He said: "It's really important to be able build a relationship with the people at Kraken Kourts, and spread the message about D.C. Pickleball and pickleball generally." The goal is to first grow pickleball as a sport so that we can support them and they will support us.
The facility is intended to welcome both newbies and experienced pickleballers. The atmosphere will vary depending on what time of the day it is. It will open at 6 am for working professionals or seniors to play before going into the office. The venue will remain open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight at weekends. However, after 9 p.m., it is only open to guests over 21. It's a family-friendly atmosphere up until then.
We created a space so that families wouldn't need to leave the district to spend time with their children. This was because we heard this from parents at other venues: I'd have to travel somewhere else if I weren't here. She said, 'I would have to travel to Maryland or Virginia to spend time with my children.
Pirate Ventures invested $300,000 into the new venue. This is a fraction of the cost of some custom-built pickleball court designs, partly because the site will be developed as part of a future phase for Bryant Street. Valero stated that if Kraken Kourts is a success, MRP may consider incorporating it into future plans. If not, it's fine too.
She said, 'We have learned to value engineer and worked with the space that was already there. In a sense, this is our secret sauce.' How can we build quickly and in a manner that fits the space? How can you have a big impact on where you spend your money?