Tom Butt
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  Craneway Application for Pickleball
March 14, 2024

Lina Velasco has generously provided me with the latest application for the City to approve the sublease for the pickleball venue in the Craneway. Thanks you, Lina. The application materials are copied below:

Use description for Craneway


Orton Entertainment has a long-term lease on the Craneway and Assemble Restaurant. Ownership has decided to change the décor and theme, as further detailed below.

There is no change of ownership or control.
There is no alteration to the exterior.
There is no interior construction.
All flooring and other FF&E is temporary, fully removable, and reversible.
The project continues as a restaurant and event venue--There is no change in use.
There is no use that is not consistent and included in all existing use permits and regulations, including zoning, State Lands, or BCDC.

The only changes are: theme and FFE.


The 75,129 square foot restaurant and event space as illustrated on the Attachment A will be restaurant, bar, sports themed activities and mixed-use area for grab and go food and drinks, souvenirs (T-shirts, water bottles, towels, etc.), as well as equipment sale and rental.  We maintain the ability to use the entire or any portion of the space for events.

The percentage of the premises that cover the game areas is 27.5%.

Activities include, but are not limited to:
Paddle sports
Ping Pong

As well as games such as:




Ping Pong



On ground chess



Total Square Footage



The hours open to the public 7 am – 11 pm Sunday-Saturday and, as with any business operating hours may be adjusted according to the demands of the market.


The only changes are in theme and decor.  We remain absolutely consistent with past practice and all regulations.

We greatly appreciate the interest and hope to see you there. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Figure 1 - Pickleball Venue Proposed Site Plan

Figure 2 - Pickleball Venue Proposed Craneway Plan

Figure 3 - BCDC Permit Site Plan

Figure 4 - BCDC Permit Improvement Plan

I have the following questions about the application that I believe should be answered before the City proceeds any further with it:

  • Why did the applicant complete construction and schedule a rand opening prior to even submitting an application? This seems like a bad faith start.
  • The applications states, “All flooring and other FF&E is temporary, fully removable, and reversible.” From what I observed, the athletic floor installation Acrytech Sport Surface is an adhesive applied composite system. It does not appear to be easily removable. Provide more information about the removal process. It would also appear that the athletic flooring may be incompatible with many types of previous uses, such as roller derby. Please explain.
  • Provide a detailed narrative description of how the proposed use comports with the Public Trust restrictions in the master lease, which are overnight accommodation, restaurants and cafes, water-related industry, museums regarding waterfront history, visitor-serving retail, boating and ferry service.” Clearly, the restaurant use is allowable, but there is no clear allowance for approximately 80% of the Craneway to be used for pickleball courts. The State Lands Commission has already advised that pickleball has no relationship with the waterfront site.
  • The application states that that location will continue to be used as an event venue. We need a description of the types and frequency of activities anticipated and the management and marketing plan to implement a successful events venue. Previously, the Craneway was actively and aggressively marketed for events, including a marketing and management staff, a website, etc. To what extent will the applicant pursue similar public uses? How will potential scheduling conflicts between pickleball and events be handled?
  • A projection of the number of people utilizing the Craneway on typical weekdays, weekday evenings, weekends and weekend evenings, what the projected parking ratio will be per person and what parking they will utilize.
  • Indications of how the subtenant will conform to the City’s codes, including RMC 2.50 and 2.56, and how it can be monitored.
  • How will the proposed uses be categorized for Richmond business tax purposes?

I urge the public to contact Lina with comments. Lina Velasco