A Prologis warehouse in Upplands Väsby, a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden, is experiencing growth of a completely new kind. A standard warehouse was transformed into 6,000 square meters of the best padel facilities in Stockholm—Ultimate Padel. And the vision of the founders extends beyond the building: They want to contribute to the community by giving more young people a chance to play.
Padel is without a doubt one of the hottest sports in Sweden right now. With many new facilities, the number of players is constantly growing. In Upplands Väsby, 15 kilometers north of Stockholm, Ultimate Padel and Prologis created a completely new padel experience, which was recognized as “the best padel facilities in Stockholm” and listed among the top three in Sweden.
The facilities, which opened with 18 indoor courts in October 2020, will add seven outdoor courts for the summer. Its 6,000 square meters include courts, changing rooms, saunas, classrooms, conference space and offices. The facilities currently serve 800 to 1,000 players daily. The setting is optimal for padel with 11-meter ceilings, energy-efficient and eye-pleasing LED lighting, and good insulation for low noise levels.
“Together with Prologis, we are close to achieving our vision. Right from the outset, we passed our attendance goals and have been able to stay open throughout the entire pandemic,” says Felix Johansson, one of the founders and head of communications at Ultimate Padel.
But the vision of Ultimate Padel goes beyond the best padel facilities. The goal is to make the sport more widely attractive and available to new groups of players. Local communities will likely benefit from the activities, as well.
“We have worked hard to organize child and youth activities in our Ultimate Padel Academy,” continues Johansson. “At the moment, we have over 100 kids, aged 7 to 16 years old, playing every week in the afternoons. The trained instructors who run the padel school for the younger kids also provide coaching for the older ones. The idea is that everyone should be able to play with others at the same level and develop at their own pace.”
Youth camps were organized during school vacations, and now a summer youth camp, Ultimate Summer Camp, is planned from mid-July to the end of August. In addition to these activities specifically for young players, local schools are invited to use the facilities for physical education classes. Classes from local communities have accepted the invitation, and schools even farther away have expressed interest.
The ambition of the founders also includes making the sport more gender balanced. Initially, 75% of the players were male, but the ratio is starting to shift.
“Among the youngest players, the numbers of boys and girls are equal,” says Johansson. “Among the older children, up to the age of 17, the percentage of boys is still greater, but the overall trend of the past six months is positive, with a considerable increase in female players. Now over 40% of players are female.“
Ultimate Padel is still ramping up its activities and waiting to form an association that would join the Swedish Padel Federation (Svenska Padelförbundet), which recently became members with the Swedish Sports Confederation (Riksidrottsförbundet).
“Once that is approved, we can do even more for schools and young people in the local area,” concludes Johansson.
Ultimate Padel was designed after broad research into what is lacking at other facilities, along with the expressed wishes of players. These characteristics give Ultimate Padel its top marks:
- Noise-reduction measures.
- Well-dimensioned changing rooms.
- Sufficient space between courts.
- High capacity with many courts.
- A large lounge with extended hours of operation, great service, and a welcoming attitude.
- Good LED lighting.
- Adequate ventilation and insulation to keep the premises cool, even when it’s hot outdoors.
“The Prologis team have provided excellent support throughout the entire process. They have been involved, listened and helped us in the face of challenges. We appreciate that they came and tested the facilities, and it feels like they have become even quicker at responding since opening a Stockholm office.”
—Felix Johansson, co-founder of and head of communications at Ultimate Padel