YMCA Reaches Agreement on Downtown Building | Richmond Free Press

The YMCA of Greater Richmond could become a model for nonprofits seeking to derive income from old buildings, while keeping them in operation.

Just before Thanksgiving, the Y announced an agreement that will allow the organization to continue operating its health and fitness center at 2 W. Franklin St. in the downtown core while relinquishing ownership of the four-story building. to developers, who plan to renovate it. and install apartments on the upper floors.

The Y said the contract would also allow the development group to purchase for residential development the parking lots that the Y has assembled next to the nearly 80-year-old building that fills part of the block bounded by Franklin, Grace, Foushee and Adams of the streets.

If the deal is finalized as planned, Y officials said its health center would become the central tenant of the residential complex while its headquarters offices, which currently occupy part of the building, would move to a new location that no. has yet to be announced.

“This partnership will allow the Y to better reflect and respond to the diverse needs of the downtown community and the community at large for another 80 years,” said Abigail Farris Rogers, President and CEO of the Y.

“We’re excited about how this opportunity taps into the history of the downtown YMCA in a very modern way,” continued Ms. Rogers, noting that the upper floors once offered rooms for rent. “The location will once again offer residences alongside Y facilities and programs that strengthen the healthy mind, mind and body. “

How much the Y stands to gain from the sale of the property has not yet been disclosed, and details have not been made public on the number of new residences to be developed.

The two sides are in a quiet period of due diligence, the association said, the final phase after three years of negotiations before the deal was registered.

If all goes well, the buyers, which include some of Metro Richmond’s most active developers and builders – George Emerson, Dennis Lynch, Tom Papa and Phil Roper – are expected to complete the purchase before the end of December and possibly begin. work by next summer, the Y said.

The first-floor health and fitness center is to remain open during renovations and redevelopment of the building, according to spokesperson Lindy M. Bumgarner. Among other improvements, the Y said the health center will have new locker rooms and group exercise studios, as well as improvements to the wellness and weight room.

Richmond taxpayers could also benefit. As a faith-based, non-profit organization, the Y has long been exempt from property tax on its property.

Following the sale, the property should be returned to the tax roll, with new apartments adding additional assessed value.

According to municipal appraiser office records, the Y building was recently valued at $ 1.33 million, which would have generated nearly $ 16,000 in property taxes if the Y had to pay. Collectively, the parking lots are separately valued at around $ 1 million, according to the appraiser’s records.

The downtown location has been in continuous use since it opened in June 1942, six months after the United States entered World War II. At the time, according to the Y, it was the most modern Y in the country.

The Richmond YMCA has been around much longer than the building. The local organization was established in 1854 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 10 years after the launch of the International YMCA in London. According to the Y, the local organization currently serves about 17,000 members at 17 sites in the Richmond and Petersburg metropolitan areas and through its summer camp.

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