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New Olympus Athletic Club Planned

Not only is Olympus Gym moving to a new location in Chantilly, it's constructing its own building, it'll have all new equipment and it'll even sport a new name — Olympus Athletic Club.

"We designed what the members want, based on their input," said owner Scot Mullin. "It'll be a 35,000-square-foot, multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art facility," added managing partner Mirek Szwarc.

Currently in Chantilly's Sully Place Shopping Center, Olympus opened locally in 1987 in Sullyfield Circle, so this will be its third move. But it outgrew its space and can't expand at its present site. So it's now seeking a special permit from Fairfax County to open up in a new building in the Albemarle Point Office Park, on the east side of Lee Road and the west side of Route 28.

It's a mixed-use site, zoned for offices and light industry. Three buildings have already been constructed there, and three more have site-plan approval. But since Olympus will be the only tenant in its building, it must obtain a special permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). A public hearing is scheduled for March 4.

Mullin and attorney Mark Looney presented details at last Tuesday's (Jan. 21) meeting of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee. And at the end, the members recommended approval to the BZA.

The proposed hours are 5 a.m.-11 p.m., daily, but they could be adjusted, depending on need. And since peak-usage hours should be evenings, the club should generate less daytime traffic than would an office at that location.

However, Stephen Vandivere of Cabell's Mill pointed out that a number of the intersections within that office park have no stoplights or stop signs. "I went there, and I almost got hit by a truck today," he said. "No one knows who has the right of way. This area needs some signage for traffic-flow control." Looney replied that this issue is up to the office park's owners, but he promised to talk to them about it.

Since Olympus is currently tucked way back in a shopping center, far from the highway, Mullin said the move will provide better visibility in a better location. He called the gym's present spot "terrible" and said another benefit of the new location is its proximity to the Westfields area "so it'll be closer for our corporate membership clients."

Mullin said there's a need for fitness now and several youth-sports organizations have contacted Olympus, trying to obtain court space. But the new building should help fill the bill. Offerings will include Tae Kwon Do and summer sports leagues, and there'll be a rubber-based, multipurpose floor for soccer, T-ball and volleyball.

Featuring a full complement of the latest, top-of-the-line exercise equipment, Olympus will have a 2,500-square-foot aerobics area, including cardiovascular machines and a Reebok cycling studio. There'll be a wide assortment of strength-training equipment, plus certified personal trainers and massage therapy. Also planned are a pro shop and cafe.

Adults will have a full-size basketball court, and the Kids Club will have a junior-size court. There'll be party rooms, and children will also have their own play gym, computer lab and learning center; the goodies will even include PlayStation2 and X-Box.

"It'll be a one-stop thing, with kids playing while their parents work out," said Szwarc. "And we can teach 7-12-year-olds about fitness, good eating habits and general conditioning, so they'll grow up healthy from the start." said Mullin.

"We want to be a multipurpose facility, not just one-dimensional, and serve all age groups — families, kids, professionals, young athletes and seniors," said Szwarc. "We want to be known as a service entity providing the highest level of fitness programming."

Mullin says the $7 million project will be a real, upscale facility from the offerings on the workout floor to the granite accents in the luxurious locker rooms.

"We want to pamper people," said Szwarc. "And we're active owners, here every day," added Mullin. "I train people, myself, and help them out. And we'll offer both month-to-month and annual memberships."

The new athletic club will have access from both Route 50 and Route 28, for added convenience, and plans plenty of parking. Construction has already begun, the Mullin and Szwarc hope to open this first-ever Olympus Athletic Club by mid-summer.

"It's going to be great — we're looking forward to it and so are our members," said Mullin. "And we're already accepting memberships." (Call 703-378-1155).

With all the health and fitness clubs that have come into the area, he said, Olympus has had 3,000 members consistently. "That shows our stability and customer service," said Mullin. "We have lots of loyal members. The new club is being built with our members' money, so we're going to build a facility that'll make them proud."