YMCA to open Coney Island, Rockaways locations

Community organization set to spend $313 million on capital improvements, expansion
By Katherine Clarke | December 20, 2012 02:30PM

While not primarily known for its real estate, the YMCA is one of the city’s largest not-for-profit land owners and developers, with 22 locations in the Greater New York area. In 2013, its holdings are set to increase even further with the addition of two more facilities in neighborhoods hit hard by Hurricane Sandy – Coney Island and the Rockaways.

The organization is set to open the two new facilities in 2013 as part of larger developments; both facilities will total more than 45,000 square feet, according to Jack Lund, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York.

The first facility will be located at 207 Beach 73rd Street in the Rockaways; it will be part of Averne-by-the-Sea, a development by the Benjamin Beachwood Company, which is also developing about 2,000 units of housing at the site. The second will be located at 2980 West 29th Street in Coney Island. It will be part of a low-income rental housing development by the Kretchmer Company and ELH Management.

Both facilities will feature aquatic centers, gymnasiums, community meeting rooms and locker rooms, Lund said.

“There were two important new undertakings for us [before the hurricane], but especially now since the storm has done so much damage to these communities, having YMCAs there as a real community anchor will be even more important,” Lund told The Real Deal.

Construction of the two new locations coincides with a larger effort by the YMCA to replace aging assets with new, modern facilities all over the city and upgrade existing capital assets, Lund said.

The decade-long capital expansion campaign includes spending $313 million to build or renovate 10 branches across the five boroughs. Facilities in Harlem, Park Slope, Jamaica and Flatbush are all currently undergoing renovation work while the Flushing YMCA will likely be replaced in the next few years, Lund said.

The addition of the Y to both projects satisfied a city requirement that the developers include community facilities in their buildings, said Connie Fishman, a senior vice president at the YMCA. Lund praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s economic development agenda for paving the way for the Y to participate in public-private partnerships such as these.

YMCA board members include former Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber, attorney Jonathan Mechanic and Related Companies executive Jay Cross.