Villanova officially announces new boathouse in Conshohocken

Villanova University has officially announced today that it has purchased 601 Washington Street in Conshohocken (Whitemarsh Township) to be the home of the Villanova Rowing program. Villanova fields a women’s varsity program and men’s club teams. On March 31st, reported on the new boathouse after receiving two tips on the project.

The university has utilized the same property along the Schuylkill River for more than two decades for its rowing program, however, the facility was within an older warehouse. With the purchase of the property, Villanova is moving forward with “best-in-class facilities to support its 600+ student-athletes, coaches and staff.” The design of the facility and the timeline to complete the construction has not been finalized.

The new rowing center was made possible by a lead gift from Terry and Patty Cavanaugh. The Cavanaugh’s daughter, Maggie Cavanaugh (’17), was a captain and member of the team during her time at Villanova.

“In order to compete at the highest levels of Division I and offer the best possible student-athlete experience, we have been actively looking for a more permanent location on the Schuylkill River for our successful Rowing program,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Jackson. “The purchase of 601 Washington Street is a significant milestone toward making our vision for Villanova Rowing a reality, and I want to thank the Cavanaugh family for their generous support of the project and Villanova Athletics.”

The property in question has recently been part of a development plan from an entity associated with Brian O’Neill, who has owned the property since 1999. This plan consisted of 270 apartments. According to Whitemarsh Township’s website, the plan was given its preliminary major land development approval in October 2022.

The Whitemarsh side of the border on the riverfront is currently poised to undergo major changes. There is an approved plan for 597 apartments that straddles the border with the Borough of Conshohocken. There is a townhouse community approved for 901 Washington Street. At 801 Washington Street, there is an initial plan to construct a warehouse facility (this has not yet been approved).

Currently, the Conshohocken riverfront in the borough and Whitemarsh Township is home to a handful of rowing programs. The Whitemarsh Boat Club and Mount Saint Joseph’s Academy have boathouses at the Hines Rowing Center at 801 Washington Street. The Haverford School, Malvern Prep, and the Borough of Conshohocken operate out of the Conshohocken Rowing Center at 307 Washington Street. Harriton High School rows out of 601 Washington Street.

The announcement did not mention plans for any other development on the property. The tips initially received mentioned that Villanova was considering additional development with student housing for graduate students as a possibility.

More to come.