When U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan wants to work out, he won't have to go far.
The former Philadelphia Eagle's Mt. Laurel home is about a mile from the Moorestown site where Virtua health system broke ground Wednesday afternoon on a $96 million Health & Wellness Center on Young Avenue, at the Mount Laurel border.
The 200,000-square-foot center is expected to open in late 2012, and will provide an array of outpatient services, including a fitness center with three swimming pools; and doctor's offices providing orthopedics, cardiology and obstetrics care.
The center, to be built on 18 acres of farmland, will not only provide easier access for health services to Burlington County residents, it will also offer an economic boost to the area, hospital and elected officials said during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.
The building of Virtua Health & Wellness Center will create 300 temporary construction jobs, and once it's complete, the center will employ about 300 people, with 230 of those positions being new jobs, the officials said.
"It's a magnet, in my mind, for other economic activity," said Moorestown Mayor John Button.
Virtua will lease the completed building from the developer, who will pay property taxes on the building and the site, local and hospital officials said.
The health system opened a Health & Wellness Center in Washington Township in 2010, and a third is scheduled to open in Voorhees in 2012.
Runyan (R-3) said at the ceremony that Virtua deserves credit for moving forward with an ambitious project in an economy that's just getting its legs back, and in an uncertain healthcare environment.
"You're really getting out in front," said Runyan. "I look forward to using the facility myself."
The groundbreaking was a proud day for Ninfa M. Saunders, president and chief operating officer of Virtua.
"As a resident of Moorestown," she said, "this day couldn't have come any sooner for me."