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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Peek inside Gloucester's old Toys R Us

Punchline-Gloucester.com has been given an exclusive sneak peek inside The Padel Club, which is set to transform the old Toys R Us warehouse at Gloucester Quays Retail Park.

Work is progressing fast on transforming the 43,000 sq ft building which has been empty for years but is set to open as a cutting-edge indoor sports venue in the autumn.

Husband and wife team Kris and Milly Ball are behind the new venture.

Kris Ball, who is founder and CEO of The Padel Club, said: "It's a big building. We are going to be building nine indoor padel courts. For people who don't know about padel, it's a cross between tennis and squash and it's the fastest growing sport in the world. It's a bit like tennis played with a racket that doesn't have strings.

"It's very accessible and that's why the sport is growing all over the world.

"There's not many places to play padel in and around Gloucester so obviously it's a great location to bring the sport."

Gloucester will be the third centre developed by The Padel Club with the first two in the North West.

"We're obviously targeting a lot of cities," added Kris. "There's a great sporting heritage in this area.

"When you come in the main door there will be a reception desk, café bar and coffee shop open to the general public so you don't need to be a member.

The clubhouse will also have its own retail store; offering padel essentials, best in class rackets; performance wear and exclusive merchandise.

"Court number 1 will be a show court with stadium seating next to it where you will have national competitions and people will be able to come in and spectate.

With an investment in the site of around £1.1 million, the new centre is set to create about 15 jobs.

The Toys R Us signs are set to come down shortly and be replaced with new signage and the new centre is expected to open in October.

Kris added: "We're really looking forward to setting up in Gloucester and we will welcome everybody in," added Kris. "Everybody has memories of the Toys R Us building. They used to buy their children's toys here and run around the building. People talk about Toys R Us being a local community hub and we think we'll be the same as a vibrant hub of activity."

Sports commentator and former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan is an original investor in The Padel Club and strong advocate for the sport. 

Jos Buttler, current England T20 cricket captain, is also a strong advocate of the sport.

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