West Y Still On Market

May 9, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — With the opening of its new downtown branch only weeks away, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids could soon be facing a difficult real estate situation.

The current downtown branch at

33 Library St.
is already sold and awaiting redevelopment, but after seven months on the market, the YMCA West Branch and ChildDevelopmentCenter at
902 Leonard St. NW
has yet to attract a new user.

"We've had interest but can't say anything serious at this point," said Jason Makowski, listing agent on the property for S.J. Wisinski & Co. "We've had some churches look at it from a redevelopment standpoint and an AAU team look at it to hold basketball clinics."

Another interested party envisioned a multipurpose facility with volleyball and basketball as a primary focus.

With a large basketball court, swimming pool, rock-climbing wall, day-care room, weight room, lockers and administrative offices, the ideal use for the facility would be another fitness club, Makowski said.

"The YMCA does not want to put another fitness club user in there because they will directly compete with the new facility downtown," he said. "We've got a non-compete clause in place currently, which means it's got to be a specialty niche — someone that wants to use some of the amenities for certain types of events with basketball, volleyball, swimming and so forth — and/or a redevelopment where you tear it down and start over."

The facility's current $775,000 asking price is well below its $990,000 appraised value, but that may not be enough to entice a developer who wants to start over on the site.

"The numbers are backwards," Makowski said. "They'd have to buy it at an extremely discounted price and that wouldn't be to the YMCA's benefit."

Makowski believes that under the current conditions, the facility is best suited for one of the aforementioned specialized athletic uses or as a rehabilitation facility.

If the facility has not attracted a buyer by June, the YMCA will use the West branch for storage and some administrative functions until September.

"By then they have to have it moved," Makowski said.    

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