Lake Norman & Mooresville

Pact would lead to LangTree branch of SwimMAC

The creation of a dedicated aquatic center at LangTree at the Lake has moved a step closer.

Officials with SwimMAC Carolina, based in Charlotte, announced May 14 that the organization had signed an agreement with LangTree developer RL West for the donation of a 4-acre plot on the western edge of the commercial-residential complex, at Exit 31 off Interstate 77 in southern Iredell County.

The planned aquatic center will feature a 50-meter Olympic-size competition pool, an additional 50-meter training pool and seating for more than 1,500 spectators, according to SwimMAC officials.

“Much has been said lately about the need for pool space around the country, but especially in Charlotte,” David Marsh, SwimMAC’s chief executive officer and director of coaching, said during a news conference before the start of the Arena Pro Swim Series meet the weekend of May 17.

“There’s been recent information that makes it clear that we’re one of the least-available pool facilities in the country as far as per capita. But this land-donation agreement between SwimMAC and RL West means that organizations like us, as well public entities, are aware of the need for pools.

“If we’re going to have Charlotte be a sustainable leader in swimming, that will be the next thing we need: the ability to have pool space and training space.”

The SwimMAC-Lake Norman facility will be adjacent to a planned 251-room

DoubleTree by Hilton hotel and conference center, according to Marsh and officials with Pharos Hospitality, which will build and operate the hotel.

The two facilities will share space in a parking deck.

“Having SwimMAC’s first-class training and swim-meet venue next door to the hotel creates synergies that benefit guests of both facilities, and creates a unique offering at LangTree,” Pharos Hospitality CEO Buddy Watson said in a prepared release.

Plans to build the SwimMAC-Lake Norman facility began last year, when SwimMAC announced its “One Lane at a Time” fundraising campaign. The $6 million effort would fund construction of the Lake Norman complex and expand and improve five other smaller training facilities operated by SwimMAC Carolina.

At the time of that announcement, which came nearly a year to the day before the May 14 signing, the Mooresville Convention and Visitors Bureau had pledged $650,000 to fund construction and operating expenses; however, the project could not move forward until the town of Mooresville gave its approval – and received subsequent approval from the Local Government Commission – for the issuance of $9.8 million in Special Assessment Improvement District bonds.

The bonds will fund infrastructure including streets, water and sewer lines, and stormwater drainage lines. In exchange for the bonds, LangTree’s developers will donate 3.34 acres to the town for a future fire station.

Mooresville commissioners approved the bond proposal in closed session at the board’s April 6 meeting. Approval from the LGC, which must give its blessing to all such bond projects, was received the following day.

The next step will be building the complex and the infrastructure to support the SwimMAC-Lake Norman facility and adjoining hotel. According to RL West President Steve Welly, the start of construction will depend on the permitting process and finalizing the design of the center.

“We have to get all of the pieces and parts lined up and the design completed,” Welly said. “When it’s all done, it’s going to be a real asset. We’ll be providing a really distinctive site for the region.”

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at