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Infinite Durham Introduces Padel: A Game-Changer for the Region

Updated: Jun 27

Inside the North East's first indoor Padel centre

We were delighted to be involved recently in a first for the region when we undertook a range of legal matters for our longstanding client, Austin Carney, to facilitate the development of the North East’s first indoor, dedicated padel courts.

Padel, or padel tennis as it is sometimes called, is a cross between tennis and squash. It is always played as doubles on a court about one third the size of a tennis court. It is easy, simple, and fun to play, three factors that have made it so popular, meaning anyone of all ages and abilities can enjoy he sport.

Austin is managing director of the six-acre multi-activity leisure complex, Infinite Durham, which is based at Belmont Business Park on the outskirts of Durham. He was able to agree terms with operator, True Padel Ltd, (True Padel) for a 15-year full repairing and insuring lease covering an area of 32,579 sq ft on what was formerly space used by football pitch facility, Soccarena.

True Padel will convert the space into nine padel courts and a café bar serving alcohol and refreshments. The facility is set to open in January.

Partner and head of the commercial property team, Victoria Walton, worked on the lease with solicitor Diane Hall and the corporate team provided additional support. Victoria commented:

“We were very pleased to be able to assist Austin with his next exciting new leisure development. The Soccarena facility is a huge success and a very popular venue with families from across the North East.

“Thanks to the breadth and depth of our commercial teams we were able to conclude this matter in a relatively short time, providing practical solutions to various aspects of the transaction and demonstrating our agility when the scope of the matter changed.”

Entrepreneur and businessman, Austin, views Soccarena almost as a second career after operating the highly successful betting chain, Reuben Page, which had 59 retail outlets before 44 were acquired by Gala Coral in 2007.

He said: “Padel is the fastest growing sport in the world and we were keen to add it to our leisure portfolio. The Swinburne Maddison team have provided a very efficient and proactive service for this deal and I am really pleased that we have been able to agree terms with True Padel for the development of this facility, which is a great fit with the environment we’ve tried to create at Soccarena.”

This is the first time Austin and his wife won’t be both owner and operator, however, they will continue to run the other facilities at Infinite Durham – Infinite Air, the very popular trampoline park, Infinite Tots, which is a soft play park with inflatables, Lickety Split, the award-winning ice cream parlour and Soccarena, which regularly hosts league games along with many junior clubs at New Ferens Park.

Austin continued: “If you include padel into the existing mix, it is an exciting addition and we have high hopes for its success. It is a very popular sport throughout the world and has a growing following in the UK, but as yet, there are no facilities in this part of the world, so we are proud to be the first activity park to introduce it.”

Adam and Alex Carr of True Padel Ltd will be operators of the new facility. Adam said: “We are delighted to have secured the space at such an established sporting location and are keen to get the new padel facility open in early January 2024.”

We wish Austin and his team continuing success with the introduction of padel to his leisure portfolio.


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