Culture / Sporting Life

Inside T Bar M Racquet Club’s Slick $70 Million Makeover and Ambitious Plans for Texas Tennis

Everything We Know So Far About WoodHouse's Reimagining of the North Dallas Club

BY // 01.25.23

About a year ago, Brady Wood, founder of hospitality investment firm WoodHouse (Park House, José), found himself discussing a recent acquisition, T Bar M Racquet Club, with Dirk Nowitzki. “Don’t eff up the tennis,” warned the Dallas sports icon — only he didn’t censor it.

Rumors began swirling about what might happen to Dallas’ beloved (if not widely discussed) T Bar M since the news broke that WoodHouse had purchased the 13-acre campus. Since opening off Preston Road and Dilbeck Lane in 1972, the private racquet club has earned a prestigious reputation for its top-tier staff and killer tennis academy. But in terms of upkeep, the aesthetics long haven’t lived up to T Bar M’s illustrious status. That’s where WoodHouse and its $70 million renovation come in.

It began when Megan Wood, Brady’s wife, returned home from playing tennis at T Bar M and recommended her husband look into it. “After I put it into Google and tried to figure out where it was, I came over here and realized what a huge opportunity there was,” Brady shared to a rapt audience of current club members at T Bar M’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Thursday, January 19. For anyone worried WoodHouse’s presence would mean a total erasure of the past five decades, Brady did his best to put their fears at ease.

“The first thing we did was talk to members, pros, and focus groups. We had dinner and drinks and learned what you wanted,” Brady said. “And I gotta tell you, when you acquire a company, what typically happens is not this. We inherited the absolute best team and culture — we don’t have to change a thing. We’re celebrating it.”

WoodHouse is focusing on “enhancing” the club, a mission that includes resurfacing hard courts, adding three red clay courts, and throwing in one grass court “just for fun.” During Thursday’s event, Brady shared plans for all new LED lighting, updated sound systems, a dedicated lounge for the pros, and bathrooms in the tennis pavilion — that last announcement was met with rapturous applause from current members.

But this is a WoodHouse project after all, so the look, feel, and social component of the club are where the firm will really leave its mark. “We want this to be your second home… not just for tennis,” Brady added.

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TBarM – Concept – 02 Club Entry
A rendering of a new 20,000-square-foot clubhouse at T Bar M Racquet Club in North Dallas. (courtesy of Lake | Flato)

To help them nail a thoughtful T Bar M makeover, Brady and his team assembled what he calls a “trifecta of talent.” There’s Texas-based architecture firm Lake | Flato, whose refined modern designs have graced many a coffee table in Rizzoli book form. Dallas-based Hocker will oversee the landscaping of T Bar M’s 13 acres (previous projects include Forty Five Ten and the Dallas Museum of Art Eagle Family Plaza). And finally, Los Angeles-based Commune Design (the firm behind Manhattan’s Goop store and several Ace Hotels, including the swim club in Palm Springs) will helm the T Bar M interiors.

In addition to the enhancements, the $70 million renovation will include notable additions. A brand new 20,000-square-foot clubhouse designed by Lake | Flato will include restaurants, lounges, coffee/ juice bars, and event spaces. An updated fitness and wellness facility will include group classes and a standalone spa for sports massages and facials. T Bar M’s current swimming pool will be replaced by a new resort-style setup complete with a poolside margarita bar and taqueria.

Even the pro shop is being reimagined to better suit Dallas members — a taste of the more modern, meaningful retail experiences to come just launched this month with Blu Scarpa, a Miami-based luxury footwear brand from Matthew Chevallard, who founded Del Toro shoes and worked with Pharrell Williams’ team to help revive the artist’s iconic Ice Cream sneakers.

T Bar M renovations are projected to take place in phases over the next two years, during which the club will remain open for play. Naturally, a $70 million renovation will prompt an increase in monthly dues — a variety of membership price levels will likely be announced in the coming months.

But beyond poolside tacos, adults-only bar areas, and a dedicated pickleball pavilion, the new era of T Bar M is a boon for all Texas tennis lovers.

“When I hear that story of what Brady’s vision is, I can’t tell you how fantastic that is for tennis, not only here in Dallas, Texas but across the country,” said Peter Lebedevs, tournament director of the Dallas Open, to close out the evening. “It’s setting a standard that’s going to be the benchmark for everyone.”

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