Wake County

YMCA buys land for community services campus in Southeast Raleigh

The YMCA of the Triangle has bought the site of a former flea market off Rock Quarry Road near Interstate 40 for a new campus that will include a Y facility, affordable housing and space for a school, a health-care center and a grocery.

The exact uses for the 32-acre site will be determined in the next 12 to 18 months as the Y works with the community and other organizations to develop the plans. But the Y has already shown its commitment to the project by buying the former Watson’s Flea Market property for $4.7 million in November.

The project stems from a desire by the Y to better serve people in Southeast Raleigh. In 2013, it hired a firm to survey residents by phone to gauge what they wanted and what the organization might do. It followed up with meetings with residents and community organizations.

“It quickly became clear that our neighbors’ desires and vision included much more than a new YMCA with traditional Y services and programs,” said Courtney Crowder, a YMCA of the Triangle board member. “Our community has imagined a unique service model that we are excited to deliver.”

The YMCA says it is “securing anchor partners” to develop the housing, health care, education and food components of the project. Jon Mills, who is overseeing the project for YMCA of the Triangle, says it’s too early to identify those partners or provide details about what services will be offered.

Mills said that planning for the campus will be led by an independent organization called the Southeast Raleigh Promise Project, so the shape of the development won’t be driven just by the Y. YMCA of the Triangle CEO Doug McMillan said his organization’s board wanted the Y to have an impact on the whole community, not just people who choose to come to a YMCA.

“That requires lots of partnerships, lots of collaboration and lots of strategies that are different from what we might have done 15 to 18 years ago,” McMillan said.

The Y expects it will cost $15 million to buy the property off Rock Quarry Road, get it ready for development and build the YMCA facility, said Mills. A fundraising campaign launched in September has generated about $3 million so far, Mills said, “so clearly we’ve got some ways to go.”

The Southeast Raleigh is part of a larger capital campaign for new facilities across the Triangle, including the Poole Family YMCA in Garner and the Northwest Cary YMCA, being developed in conjunction with Crosspointe Church.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling