Belfast City Council has decided to proceed with plans to build a new leisure centre at a site at Ormeau Park in the south of the city.
Maysfield Leisure Centre closed in July 2004
Sinn Fein and the SDLP had argued that a site at Maysfield was more neutral and economically viable.
However, they failed to gain the support of the other parties at a council meeting on Thursday.
The new facility will replace Maysfield Leisure Centre, which closed at the end of July last year.
Defending the decision to build the new centre at Ormeau Park, DUP councillor Sammy Wilson said Maysfield had been losing £1.5m yearly and was "not used by a large number of people in the city".
"Secondly, we have a site at Maysfield which, at current market value, is probably worth about £8m to £10m," he said.
"Why would we build on a site which is worth that amount to the council when we have got a site for nothing?"
Sinn Fein councillor Fra McCann, however, claimed the decision not to use the Maysfield site was "taken purely for sectarian reasons".
"The surveys have stated that many nationalists who live in the surrounding areas would feel uncomfortable coming down (to the Ormeau Park)," he said.
"One of the only leisure centres we have had that people recognise was neutral was Maysfield."