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Commercial Real Estate

The Downtown YMCA Is Back on the Market

After reopening in June, the decline in memberships was enough to re-enter negotiations with potential suitors. The Y says it is committed to staying downtown in some form.
Courtesy of T. Boone Pickens YMCA

The downtown T. Boone Pickens YMCA is back on the market. The well-maintained gym at the corner of Ross and Akard streets is at the edge of plenty of development activity. It’s all marching east along Ross, with the overhaul of the Trammell Crow Center, the new retail-accented parking garage across the street, and Hall Arts’ continued expansion a few blocks north. On the other end of the block is the new Fountain Place Amli, 45 stories of luxury housing. According to JLL, the firm that’s brokering a deal, the post-Klyde Warren Park office boom has brought over 2 million square feet of office development since 2012.

The pandemic could obviously change some of that momentum, but the Y sure seems resolute in the decision it made in September of 2019: “the cost to maintain it and the changing dynamics of Downtown” were what Giselle Patterson, the location’s executive director, and Metropolitan Dallas YMCA CEO Curt Hazelbaker said drove the decision. Those things clearly aren’t changing. It also cited all the in-office and in-apartment fitness centers that it’s suddenly competing with. For folks like me and Tim Rogers and Zac Crain, who all work downtown and live elsewhere, the downtown Y was a perfect pre- or post-work stop. But for now we don’t work downtown.

Earlier this month, Y members learned the basketball courts—the finest in all downtown—had been refinished. And the gym has preached a good game on COVID safety, for those who feel safe enough to risk it: not wearing a mask was enough to terminate your membership.

YMCA spokesman David Frederick says membership has fallen 43 percent since the pandemic because downtown office workers just aren’t there anymore.

In March, the YMCA paused the sale. The gym reopened in June, and the decline in traffic was enough to put it back on the market.

The organization says it will need to identify a new location before it sells and moves. That will take time.

“The sale of the existing building can provide significant resources for our efforts to serve more individuals and families as part of our new growth strategy including in Downtown Dallas,” Frederick said in an email. “The sale of the building will be contingent upon finding the right solution for the Y, our members, and community. The YMCA is committed to serving Downtown Dallas now and in the future.”

It’s too soon to say what that looks like, whether it will be in downtown proper or just somewhere nearby. The Y also said it was too soon to speculate whether the current amenities will be prioritized in the future, as well.

The downtown Y has been operating in that location since 1982.