by W.B. King –
The YMCA’s longstanding mission of “improving the nation’s health and well-being, and supporting and serving our neighbors,” has been practiced at the Tarrytown Y location on Main Street since 1912. But the forecasted cost—nearly $6 million—of updating the facility to cater to new fitness trends, as well as expanding youth and adult programming, has forced the Tarrytown Y to try to sell its 2.2-acre property and building.
“The cost to renovate is a rough estimate, but the age of the building, the infrastructure of the building—the roof, the windows and the HVAC systems—were all taken into account, as was the housing portion,” said Tarrytown Y’s CEO, Gerry Riera, who has held the position for 16 years. He added that limited parking for onsite residents, employees and patrons is problematic.
Along with its health and fitness center, which provides more than 50 group exercise classes, the Y offers programs in aquatics, hosts birthday parties and has a childcare early learning center as well as youth enrichment programs, summer programs and dance and theatre arts classes.
“Being a fitness center is just one piece of what we do,” said Riera. “With all the programs and services we offer, it is hard to quantify, but on a monthly basis we serve a few thousand people.”
Riera explained that while the Y’s board has approved the decision to sell the property, the time frame to liquidate the property and secure a new location may prove difficult since the Y needs the revenue from the sale to open and operate the new location.
“The sale will really depend on the market and which developers will want to take on this project and redevelop it,” said Riera. “It also depends on receiving a fair price offer as well as the type of project a developer wants to build here because it is in the historic district. All of this makes it hard to determine a timeline, but it will certainly take over a year—maybe even two or three years.”
With regard to the 48 residents who live on the Y’s property, Riera said they will be included in the relocation effort, but it remains unclear whether or not they will live on site at the new location. The problem, he added, is that there is little low-income housing in Westchester County and finding a suitable residence that would charge the same rental amount as the Y is a significant challenge.
“These residents are included in our plans. We have had numerous conversations with both public and private entities regarding our housing program. We are looking to develop an affordable housing program somewhere else where these residents can reside,” said Riera. “If the time frame of developing that doesn’t meet the time frame to sell the building, we will do everything possible to seek and relocate housing for these gentlemen.”
The Y’s New Location May Not be In Tarrytown
While the goal is to find a new suitable location for the Y in Tarrytown, Riera explained that depending on real estate market conditions and timing, the board may entertain locations in the immediate area of Tarrytown, such as Irvington, Sleepy Hollow and Elmsford. But until further notice, he said that Y patrons can expect business as usual.
“We will probably look for an existing structure or part of a structure that is being built. We would not have the capacity to acquire land and do a capital campaign and build a brand new facility,” he said. “We are marketing the building for sale and we will see what happens. We are not changing. Our mission remains the same as does the programs and services we offer. We are moving, but we just don’t know where we are moving to yet.”