Scotched sale of downtown Dallas YMCA gives fitness buffs a reprieve
Downtown Dallas fitness buffs can breathe a sigh of relief: A mystery buyer who bid on the downtown Dallas YMCA building has dropped out after several months of negotiations.
The Y has stopped listing the property at 601 N. Akard St., and is now considering repairs on the location.
Reported to be an all-cash deal, the sale was due to close by November 25.
But YMCA members received a letter from CEO Curt Hazelbaker on November 13 stating that the buyer, who intended to convert it into a mixed-use residential building, backed out, and that the Y will stay open for the time being. A YMCA spokesperson confirmed, stating in an email that “the building will not be put back on the market.”
The scotched $12 million deal is a blessing for patrons, many of whom pay on an income-based membership scale.
The building needs a reported $8 million in repairs. Y spokeswoman Nicole Rosales said in the email that repairs, which had been put off as the sale neared, may be considered.
“We are currently evaluating the building’s needs to move forward in the current space and will plan for what makes the most sense for our members’ needs and financially, for the organization,” she said.
The building first went up for sale in 2019. At the time, the Y issued a press release promising to maintain a downtown presence in honor of Pickens, who passed away that year.
A sale was put back on the table in 2021, a proposal that was met with objections by some of the YMCA’s board members who called it "contrary to the mission of the YMCA" and a loss for downtown Dallas after being there for more than a century.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, which includes 16 branches in six counties, is a nonprofit that last year saw a jump in revenue from $56.5 million in 2021 to $83.7 million.
The current location opened in 1982, with 200,000 square feet, and became the go-to for fitness fans in the central downtown, including some who worked in the area and lived elsewhere. The Y also has two locations in South Dallas, and one each in White Rock and Highland Park, all within 10 miles of the downtown location.
The branch put the name of oil magnate T. Boone Pickens on it in 2009 after he donated $5 million to the downtown location, which allowed a considerable upgrade to the facilities, including updates to locker rooms, upgraded wi-fi, and new racquetball and basketball courts.