$150 million downtown YMCA renovation will be more than a gym

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Leaders of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region announced Wednesday a $150 million project that will replace the current 47-year-old gym.

“This could really be an economic driver for the northern part of downtown,” said Brian Risley, the chair of the YMCA metropolitan board of directors.

The southeast corner of Nevada and Platte in Colorado Springs is far from the shining jewel of the city. As it sits right now, it’s a unofficial parking lot under the awnings of its former life as a gas station. Spray paint is a reminder of the days when it was a food truck lot.

But head a few hundred feet to the south, and you’ll find an organization ready to make a transformation.

“This is long overdue,” said Boyd Williams, the CEO and President of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak region.

You’d be right to think $150 million is expensive for a gym Williams said, however, there’s a lot more planned.

The renovation will take place in three phases, the first being the largest. That will build a three to four-story gym and on top of that, at least four stories of an affordable-housing apartment complex.

“We see this as being socially responsible. There is an abundance of shortage of affordable housing across the United States, but certainly here in Colorado Springs,” Williams said.

200 units from 1-3 bedrooms will be built. That phase of the project will break ground in the latter part of 2020 with expected completion around mid-2022.

Phase II will demolish the old gym, clearing the ground for a 76,000 sq. ft. commercial office building.

Phase III will build another building on the eastern edge of the lot with ground-level space for “mixed-use” that has the possibility of restaurants, retail shops, even a grocery store is in the discussion.

“Conceptually, the project has evolved a little bit,” Risley said.

The project was originally announced in 2016 when Risley said the addition of apartments was less certain, as was the funding.

Since then, the Y has partnered with White Lotus Group to develop the project. YMCA will donate the land to White Lotus who will then spend the money to build the facilities, then the YMCA will lease their space.

“Taking this fiscally responsible approach will allow us to do more throughout the community with other dollars,” said Williams.

Williams and Risley see parallels to their development to what the Olympic Museum has started in the southwest part of downtown Colorado Springs, as a kickstart to investment in the northeast portion.

“We sot right across from Acacia Park, viewing America’s mountain. I think this project may be the catalyst to spearhead other projects in this area as we see this continued renaissance of Colorado Springs,” said Williams.

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