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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)
Volleyball players in the Richmond area can look forward to having a new indoor venue next year.
The Richmond Volleyball Club, which has more than 3,000 members, is planning to move into a 50,000-square-foot volleyball facility that the Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority plans to build in the Stonebridge development just off Midlothian Turnpike.
Chesterfield County officials and the Richmond Volleyball Club are planning to announce details of the project at a news conference today.
The new facility will be located at 200 Karl Linn Drive in Stonebridge, a mixed-used development that is part of the former Cloverleaf Mall property. It is expected to open by January and will have eight volleyball courts.
The Chesterfield Economic Development Authority plans to lease the facility to RVC. The building project, estimated to cost about $7 million, must be approved by the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.
In addition to RVC, the Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department plans to use about 5,000 square feet of the building for community programs and events such as fitness classes, particularly for older adults.
RVC currently occupies two facilities in Henrico County. It owns a building on Byrdhill Road with its offices and 12 courts in about 74,000 square feet. That facility will remain open. The new facility in Chesterfield will replace a building the RVC leases on Westmoreland Street, which has six courts and about 24,000 square feet.
"This location in Chesterfield will be the first time that we have had a building that was built to suit our needs - built for volleyball," said Darcy Carroll, executive director of the volleyball club. "This will be more ideal for our purposes." The facility will not have spectator stands, but it will have room for spectators near the courts, Carroll said.
"We have been growing," she said of RVC, a nonprofit group founded in 1981. About 400 people participate in RVC's daily adult leagues and its junior development programs, which serve children and young adults ages 3 to 18.
The group also hosts tournaments that draw teams from outside the Richmond region, including the combined Boys' East Coast Championships and Girls' South Atlantic Championships.
"This is a huge addition to our inventory of sports facilities" in the Richmond region, said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. That inventory of sports facilities includes soccer, field hockey, baseball, softball, swimming and basketball, among other sports, which together attract tens of thousands of visitors to the region every year for state, regional and national events.
"It all computes to heads in beds," Berry said, referring to hotel stays in the area.
"The secret of sports tourism is to have first-class facilities," he said.
Carroll said RVC started looking for potential sites in Chesterfield three years ago.
"The facility in Chesterfield will have a lot more space around the courts for spectators," she said. "It will be a much nicer facility for the junior tournaments that we hold, and we believe it will be a better experience for everyone, while allowing us to grow."
"The last several years we have been expanding our developmental programs, which is for younger kids and kids who have not played volleyball before," she said. "We are proud that a lot of our athletes are able to pursue volleyball in college. In some cases, they had not considered going to college, and this opened a door for them."
The 50-acre Cloverleaf Mall property was acquired by the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority in 2008. The EDA entered into a partnership with Charlotte, N.C.-based development company Crosland Southeast to redevelop the property in phases.
It now has one of the largest Kroger Marketplace stores on the East Coast, a Boyd Homes' luxury apartment community and other retail stores as part of the Shops at Stonebridge.
In December, Stonebridge was acquired by McLean-based S2 Capital Partners LLC, which plans to continue retail development on the property.
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