Downtown Raleigh getting a new YMCA

New YMCA planned for downtown Raleigh
New YMCA planned for downtown Raleigh NAI Carolantic Realty

The YMCA of the Triangle is expanding to downtown Raleigh.

The organization plans to occupy more than 26,000 square feet at 227 Fayetteville St., a 10-story building that is the former regional headquarters for what is now Wells Fargo.

The new YMCA branch will be the nonprofit organization’s fourth Raleigh location. It currently operates 16 branches in Wake, Chatham, Durham, Orange and Lee counties and ranks among the 10 largest YMCAs in the nation.

The new branch will be a return to downtown Raleigh after an absence of more than 50 years.

The YMCA opened its first Raleigh facility on Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh, at the site of the N.C. Museum of History, in 1911 and remained there until the early 1960s, when it relocated to Hillsborough Street, said Bryan Huffman, the organization’s chief financial officer.

Huffman said that – given downtown’s growth spurt in recent years – the organization has been looking for more than a year to return to downtown Raleigh as part of its mission of “serving as many people as possible in the Triangle area.”

Although some of the services that the YMCA will offer downtown are still being determined, they will be skewed toward wellness and fitness, Huffman said. That will include a fitness center with gym equipment and fitness and wellness classrooms, as well as community rooms for meetings.

The new YMCA will have a ground floor entrance on Fayetteville Street and occupy two upper floors, said Ed Kulik, principal at LRC Properties, which owns the building.

Kulik said that he expects the YMCA will be able to move into the space in four-and-a-half to five months.

“We think it’s a great amenity,” said Bill King, senior director of economic development and planning with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. “It will bring a nice evening and weekend bump to Fayetteville Street.”

The YMCA, King added, will benefit not only downtown residents but also downtown office workers who want to work out during lunch.

LRC Properties, which is based in New York City and has an office in Charlotte, acquired 227 Fayetteville for $5.2 million in late 2012 and renovated the property for an additional $14.5 million. The building opened in December 2014 and today has just 10,000 square feet of unoccupied space.

“We’re not the biggest building in downtown Raleigh by any means, but it is such a focal point of downtown,” said Kulik. “Some people consider the building to actually be in the center of Raleigh, of the CBD,” or central business district.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii