Elizabeth Square Redevelopment Calls for Large Public Recreation and Aquatic Center in Silver Spring

As featured in Bethesda Magazine

Multiple pools, spa, fitness center and basketball court planned for project

An official working on the redevelopment of Elizabeth Square in downtown Silver Spring revealed additional details this week about a new 120,000-square-foot public aquatic and recreation center to be included in the residential development that’s set to replace a block of affordable housing.

The aquatic and recreation center will feature a 25-meter long, 8-lane lap pool (half the size of an Olympic swimming pool), a multi-purpose therapy pool, a spa, fitness center, basketball court and locker rooms, according to Stacy Spann, executive director of the Montgomery County Housing Opportunity Commission (HOC), which is working with the Lee Development Group on the project. The county’s recreation department will operate the new center which will face a new, open-air central plaza. The center will span two buildings on the ground floor of the project.

KGD Architecture

In an email sent to Bethesda Beat Wednesday, Spann said the plan for the site is to create a multigenerational affordable living community that entices the general public to interact with its residents. Fifteen percent of the project’s units will be designated as moderately priced and 10 percent will be set aside for workforce housing, according to documents filed with the Montgomery County Planning Department.

Lee plans to tear down the existing 14-story Elizabeth House—a 160-unit affordable senior housing building between Apple Ave and Fenwick Lane—as well as low-rise commercial buildings at the site and replace them with two high-rise buildings. The new buildings, plus the existing Alexander House high-rise, which was built in 1992, will result in a total of about 900 residential units on the 2.68 acre property along Second Avenue.

Lee Development owns the office buildings toward the back of the property, while HOC owns the two existing apartment buildings.

Spann said the first new building, Elizabeth House III, is scheduled to start construction in mid-2017 and be completed by the middle of 2019. That 15-story building will include the aquatic center and senior housing. The other new building, Elizabeth House IV, is scheduled to start construction in mid-2019 and be completed by the end of 2021 and will include the gym as well as multifamily housing.

The new county center is also being built after downtown residents expressed their demand for one, Spann said. The nearest recreation center with a pool—the Long Branch Community Recreation Center—is about two miles from the downtown core.

Renderings by KGD Architecture

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