Proposed fitness and swim center would be built as part of a new residential complex

Construction of a 120,000-square-foot public fitness, aquatic and community center in downtown Silver Spring will cost Montgomery County $55 million over the next six years, according to budget documents presented Monday to a County Council committee.

The proposed fitness center was first detailed by county housing officials in June and cost figures were updated in the county’s capital budget plans in January.

David Dise, the county’s Department of General Services director, told the council’s planning and housing committee that about $3.1 million of the $55 million cost of the center was needed this year to begin design work.

The plan for the center calls for a 56,000-square-foot aquatics space with swimming and therapy pools, a 28,000-square-foot fitness center with a gymnasium, a 26,000-square foot community center and a 7,000-square-foot lobby space. It would be built as part of the Elizabeth Square redevelopment project between Apple Avenue and Fenwick lane, about two blocks north of the Silver Spring Metro station. It would be the first county recreation center in the Silver Spring downtown area.

The county’s Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) is partnering with Lee Development Group to renovate the existing Alexander House building, and tear down the 160-unit Elizabeth House and adjoining commercial buildings to make way for two high-rises—a 15-story building with 267 units of senior housing and a 19-story building with 274 apartments for families.

HOC Director Stacy Spann said Monday renovations are underway at Alexander House and demolition at the other buildings is scheduled to begin later this year.

Council staff wrote to the council that co-locating the fitness and community center at the new development would cost about $10 million to $25 million less than if the county were to develop the center on its own. The county plans to open the aquatic and fitness center in 2019, followed by the community center in 2021, according to council staff.

The county estimates it would cost about $3 million per year to operate the fitness and aquatic center, a cost that would be partially offset by the $1 million in revenue it’s expected to generate per year. The county plans to allocate the $55 million for the public project using the following schedule, which still must be approved by the council.


Source: Bethesda Magazine