YMCA Downtown to relocate after nearly 100 years

Downtown YMCA in Columbus (WBNS-10TV)
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Four-hundred men call the downtown YMCA home.

Including people like Dwayne Taylor who has lived there for two years.

"Since I've been here it's the longest I've been out of prison," he said.

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More than 3,000 people use the building for the gym.

The YMCA announced the building has outlived its usefulness.

"There is a commitment to have a downtown presence," says Tony Collins CEO of YMCA of Central Ohio.

Management says it will take between 3 to 5 years to move the residents to another location.

The Y is looking at developing something similar to the Franklin Station, another YMCA project located in Franklinton, as its new housing model.

"It's absolutely a perfect situation, wonderful places to live, they are one-bedroom efficiency with kitchens and bathrooms," says Collins.

This is why he says, the building at Front and Long Street no longer makes sense.

New federal requirements for supportive housing require each living space to have it's own kitchen and bathroom. Something this building doesn't have.

The Y says preliminary estimates could cost tens of millions of dollars to renovate the building.

"We believe at a minimum it will be $50 million to renovate that historic structure", says Collins.

Collins says the structure of the building won't allow for new ceiling heights requirements which is why a move is necessary.

Meanwhile, those who use the building for a gym can expect to see another downtown fitness center in the summer of 2020.

As for what will happen to this 95-year old building, the Y says while it doesn't know what it will become in the future, it does plan to fight to keep its historic look.

"We believe it's a landmark in central Ohio and it needs to stay that way, so whatever we work on we will have that in mind," says Collins.

The seven-story building has 235,118 square feet. The Franklin County Auditor’s office values the building at $5.85 million.