Latest Expansion News

UPDATE: February 1, 2020

Expansion Update:  IT'S GO TIME!!!

It’s been “Demo Day” all week at Regency.  Construction has officially started, managed by Hourigan and Rebkee.   We are so energized to be moving forward!  We have asked Hourigan to set up a time-lapse camera so that we can follow the exciting transformation of the Macy’s space to the NOVA natatorium.

Henrico County has delivered the first installment of its $1,750,000 grant to NOVA for the Regency project.  In accordance with the county agreement, NOVA is pleased that the ‘NOVASwim’ lessons pilot program for second graders will begin on February 4 at the Gayton pool.  All second graders from our partner school, Ruby Carver Elementary, will take lessons at NOVA during the school day for an eight-week period.  Providing our neighbors with more access to swimming, and teaching kids how to swim, is a wonderful aspect of the expansion.

Thanks to the NOVA families who have contributed generously to the Capital Campaign; we have received over $125,000 in gifts during the last sixty days -- $70,000 from two donors alone!  Our original Capital Campaign goal was $2,000,000, including $500,000 from the Sharp Family fund.  We will receive the bulk of the Sharp funding in 2020, starting in February.  Mrs. Sharp recognizes that we need to pay for the new Aquatics Center over the next eighteen months.  We have collected nearly $1,100,000 in pledges and gifts against the remaining $1,500,000 Capital Campaign goal.  This means that we need to close the $400,000+ gap as soon as we are able. 

I ask those who made pledges to please contribute.  Over the next several weeks, we will highlight the benefits of the expansion project for the NOVA community:  additional lane space, new programming, more convenient practice times, and access to long course training and swim meets at home.  We will ask those who have not pledged to please join the Capital Campaign.  We are also pursuing funding sources outside of NOVA.  An important metric is the level of participation from NOVA families. This project would not be possible without the strong engagement of our community – for this, we are deeply grateful.

UPDATE October 2019

 . . . we have exciting news on NOVA’s expansion at Regency Mall.

NOVA and Thalhimer/Rebkee sign long-term lease!

The project to locate the Sharp Family 8-lane/50-meter pool, plus two 3-lane/ 25-yard pools, in the vacated Macy’s South space, is moving forward. NOVA and its partners just signed a 20-year lease, with an option for 30-years, that covers construction of the Aquatics Center at Regency and terms for NOVA’s occupancy of the space. Getting this done is great news.

I want to give special thanks to Edmund Pittman, Partner at McGuireWoods, who graciously provided pro bono legal advice and assistance for the negotiation of the lease and agreements with Henrico County. The County will provide $1.75 million to NOVA over five years; NOVA will continue to support high school swimming plus join the county-wide initiative to teach second graders how to swim.  Ed represented NOVA very well, in all cases, and was instrumental in helping our non-profit to finalize these critical and complex agreements.

The lease sets a maximum construction cost target that is required so that all parties can proceed.  Assuming we reach agreement over the next few weeks on the final specifications that will allow us meet the construction cost target for the project, demolition is expected to begin in January 2020.  The plan is for the Aquatics Center to be ready for occupancy during the third quarter 2021.  We are fortunate to be collaborating with Thalhimer and Rebkee:  great partners.  Please take a look at the attachments, wonderful renderings of the exterior and interior space, for all phases of construction, as designed by Baskervil.  We will keep you posted on new developments.




Henrico County Planning Commission recommends approval of redevelopment plans for Regency Mall 

Good news on the Expansion Front

On June 21, the Henrico County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Board of Directors approved several key agreements related to the construction of the new Aquatics Center at Regency Mall.

  • The existing Regency Mall Economic Development Agreement will be extended from six years to ten years.  The additional four years will enable Regency to finance improvements to the building shell at Regency for NOVA:  specifically, converting the existing Macy’s South space to an Aquatics Center.  This will be a huge undertaking and a very novel approach to repurposing aging malls.
  • NOVA will receive a $1.75 million grant from Henrico County, to be paid over five years in exchange for guaranteed public access to NOVA facilities.  This access includes additional lane space and practice times for high school varsity swimming and joint programs with Henrico County Public Schools and Henrico Recreation and Parks.  Programming specifics are covered under a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).


We thank Henrico County officials and the EDA Board for their support of NOVA’s mission as we strive to be a leader in promoting water safety, fitness, and the life-long sport of swimming through superb programming, facilities, coaching, and community engagement.  The new Aquatics Center, featuring the 50-meter Sharp Family Pool, will bring swimming to more people in the community in the years ahead.  We believe all will enjoy visiting the revitalized Regency mall, with access to restaurants, fitness centers, and entertainment venues.


We are moving forward with our Regency partners, Thalhimer Realty and the Rebkee Company, to finalize the building and pool design, associated construction costs, and elements of the long-term lease.We are excited about our progress and expect to have another update in July.




UPDATE 4/27/19

The expansion is moving forward

We are working diligently to further define the facility design/costs and finalize long-term contracts with our Regency partners and Henrico County so that construction can begin at Regency in the late summer/early fall.  We will keep you posted on our progress.


UPDATE 3/26/19

Press Release

Henrico County Video





UPDATE 3/22/19

Hear news about the Expansion on March 26 at the Regency public meeting

Plans to build a NOVA Aquatics Center at Regency are moving forward!  The next part of the process is to receive Henrico County approval to support the construction of the Sharp Family 50-meter pool and warm water 25-yard pools in the vacated Macy's South space.  To that end, NOVA will participate in the Henrico County Board of Supervisors work session on Tuesday, March 26 that will be open to the public.  The meeting will take place in the Macy's South building at 5PM (entrance at the rear of the mall) and we encourage NOVAfamilies to attend. 

You will hear remarks from: Mrs. Pat O’Bannon (Tuckahoe District Board Supervisor), John Vithoulkas (County Manager), Neil Luther (Director of Recreation and Parks) and Dr. Amy Cashwell (School Board Superintendent) PLUS presentations from the Regency developers and NOVA. The objectives of the work session are to inform the Board of Supervisors and the public about plans to repurpose the Macy's South building to an Aquatics Center and how this project will deliver a public benefit to the community while helping to transform Regency to a thriving lifestyle center.  You don't want to miss this!  We expect a large turn-out and the press is invited.  









UPDATE 2/18/19

I am writing to give you an exciting progress report on the expansion opportunity at Regency.  NOVA and its Regency partners, The Rebkee Company and Thalhimer Realty Partners, have reached a key milestone regarding plans to construct an Aquatics Center at the Regency/Macy's South location.  After significant evaluation of the facility design, construction costs, and funding sources, we have determined that the project is economically feasible and an attractive venture for all parties. 

The Sharp Family 50-meter pool and two three-lane 25-yard pools will enable NOVA to deliver on its mission to: provide an excellent year-round training and swim meet environment for area swimmers; support its growing learn-to-swim program; and offer new programming to the community that will facilitate greater access for all to the wonderful sport of swimming. Regency is undergoing an exciting transformation and NOVA will be a great fit as the mall is repurposed to be a thriving lifestyle center.

Regency will modify the building shell for NOVA's use, removing a portion of the second floor and escalator, modifying the roof, and will fund these improvements.  NOVA will add the pools and build out the interior spaces (offices, locker rooms, bathrooms, etc).  Over time, the building will be further modified to include expansive viewing areas, exercise rooms, and community space.  Here are the upcoming critical tasks:

  • Gain updated subcontractor price proposals based on more definitive design and engineering specifications and current industry cost dynamics
  • Finalize the 30-year Lease Agreement with our Regency partners per the business terms set forth in the Letter of Intent, signed in September
  • Assure the availability of selected contractors to execute the project in an acceptable time frame

We anticipate that additional planning will take six months, followed by an 18-month construction period, depending on the availability of contractors.  NOVA is building at Regency because we need more water; the Gayton Road facility will therefore continue to operate.  

NOVA will now resume the capital campaign through the active collection of outstanding pledges and outreach to those families that have not already pledged.  NOVA has secured almost 70% of the outstanding pledges, including Mrs. Sherry Sharp's gift of $500,000.  We will work hard in the next months to reach out to each NOVA family and communicate progress on the expansion project.  We will need everyone's help.  As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

The NOVA Board, coaches, and staff deeply appreciate the patience and generosity of the NOVA community to take this audacious step to support growth and 'pay it forward' for the next generation of swimmers, as other families have done before us.  Our journey to add water has been lengthy and subject to unexpected complications.  I am proud that we continue to stay the course to find the best solution for our club.  Building at Regency will give us the pools we need in a covered building, with super amenities, and committed partners.






UPDATE 11/6/18

The initial sixty-day feasibility study period for the placement of NOVA's 50-meter Sharp Family Pool at The Regency Center Mall concluded yesterday.  I would like to take this opportunity to report on the project status and next steps.

  • NOVA and the Regency Center Mall owners, Thalhimer Realty Partners and The Rebkee Company, have reached agreement on the project scope and building design.
  • It is technically feasible to build an eight-lane 50-meter pool with two bulkheads plus a six-lane warm-up/cool-down/lessons pool in the Macy's South space (facing the rear of the mall).
  • Regency will modify the building shell for NOVA's use, removing a portion of the second floor and escalator, modifying the roof, and will fund these improvements.
  • NOVA will add the pools and build out the interior spaces (offices, locker rooms, bathrooms, community area).
  • The pools and associated spaces will be on the first floor; besides deck bleachers, additional seating will be available on the elevated mezzanine level.  Both areas will be accessible by the two-level parking deck, the bottom deck is covered.
  • We are so pleased about the enthusiastic and collaborative planning process involving our Regency partners.  Regency is undergoing an exciting transformation and NOVA would be a great fit as the mall is repurposed to be a thriving lifestyle center.
  • NOVA and Regency have set another benchmark date of November 30 to further refine the building design, construction costs, funding requirements, and project timing.
  • NOVA has secured almost 70% of the outstanding pledges, including Mrs. Sherry Sharp's gift of $500,000.
  • Once we have developed additional information by month-end, and assuming that project advancement is a 'go', we will resume the active collection of NOVA pledges and the outreach to families who have not already pledged.  We will have a better understanding of the funding gap after November 30.

Thanks to all who have supported NOVA's Capital Campaign and we appreciate your patience.  The addition of the 50-meter and 25-yard pools will provide: an enhanced training environment for our swimmers; the ability to hold long course meets at home; and new capacity for additional lessons and programming to benefit NOVA families and the community at large.  The customer experience will be enhanced at the Regency location, too.  This opportunity would not be possible without the generous and committed support from the NOVA parents, alumni, and friends - we are grateful.