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joeDowntown

New YMCA quickly shapes up

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joeDowntown    664

Sunday, February 20, 2005

By Ted Roelofs

The Grand Rapids Press

With dedication of a new Grand Rapids YMCA set for June 24, officials have great expectations for the $29 million building.

They expect once it opens for business June 27, the downtown Y will compete with a new generation of fitness clubs. They think it will double the number of people using metropolitan Ys, to 42,000.

hunting_exterior.jpg

And they believe it will tackle head-on one of Michigan's persistent health woes: The battle of the bulge.

"We know that Michigan is the secondmost obese state in the country," said Ron Nelson, president of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

"We plan to do something about it."

It has already launched a comprehensive health and fitness program for kids. The next step is to involve their parents, to ensure the lessons they learn are reinforced at home.

"It's one of the more pioneering programs across the country right now," said Nelson, who will update city commissioners Tuesday about progress of the David D. Hunting YMCA.

Nelson expects the facility to attract an additional 7,500 memberships, by offering offer fitness options not available in the Ys of yesterday. The four-story, 159,000-square-foot building includes two gyms, divisible into four gyms for youth basketball, two swimming pools, one with a water slide and "lazy river," a 250-yard indoor running track, squash and racquetball courts and strength and aerobic training areas.

The fourth floor will house the corporate offices of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

Located west of U.S. 131 at 475 Lake Michigan Drive NW, the new Y likely will compete with state-of-the-art venues like MVP Sportsplex in Kentwood, a $17 million fitness club expected to open in March, the East Hills Athletic Club in Kentwood and the Michigan Athletic Club in Grand Rapids.

Nelson is confident the new Y will do just fine in this competitive environment.

"The market will decide," he said.

The fund drive for the new facility has reached about $13.5 million out of its goal of $16.3 million, Nelson said. The remainder of the cost is to be paid by tax-exempt bonds.

Nelson said efforts continue to sell the West Side YMCA at 902 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids.

In August, officials announced they were selling the downtown YMCA to a Grand Rapids development firm, a $15 million project to renovate the eight-story building into 40 condominiums.

Features of the new Downtown YMCA:

- $26 million state-of-the-art, family facility

- 150,000 square-feet

- U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified for energy efficiency and use of natural light, fresh air, and healthy building materials.

- Window wall in Aquatics Center

- Family recreation pool with water slide

- 1/7 mile indoor running track

- 3 racquetball courts

- One squash court

- 2 full basketball courts

- Cardio & strength training equipment

- Climbing wall

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Allan    0

The building looks ok. It's a lot better than Detroit's though. The new one in Detroit looks more like a factory than a YMCA. :(

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joeDowntown    664

Allan,

It is actually a lot nicer than this rendering shows. What is pretty cool is they built an glass wall on the eastern side so when you are downtown or on the expressway you can see the pool, running track, etc. at night.

The same architects designed a high school auditorium (they didn't build them like this in my days) and the facility is absolutely fabulous. I expect the end product will look much more like this:

fh_big_pic.jpg

Also, you can check out the construction progress as of 1/27/2005 at:

YMCA - Construction Progress

While it looks like cinder block (some of it still is until they "skin" it with something. Most of the walls that aren't glass seem to be some sort of natural stone. The pictures don't do it justice.

Joe

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Allan    0

It does look a lot nicer in the photos than it does in the renderings. And I'm sure that it's even nicer in real life than it is in the photos.

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joeDowntown    664

I drove by the new YMCA this weekend and I have to say that I think it is looking good now that it is close to completion. I like the stainless steel cube entrance, and I think it will add a lot of visual interest at night. Once they add landscaping I think it will look top notch.

Doesn't it open this weekend?

Joe

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jschutMTU    0

Its scheduled to finish up this thursday with dedication on friday. So it should be open to the public this weekend.

I drove by the new YMCA this weekend and I have to say that I think it is looking good now that it is close to completion. I like the stainless steel cube entrance, and I think it will add a lot of visual interest at night. Once the add landscaping I think it will look top notch.

Doesn't it open this weekend?

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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superNOVA    0

What is pretty cool is they built an glass wall on the eastern side so when you are downtown or on the expressway you can see the pool, running track, etc. at night.

They did the same thing with the one here.

I checked on a membership a bit ago, unfortunately it is about the most expensive place in town...

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svs650k3    0

I checked on a membership a bit ago, unfortunately it is about the most expensive place in town...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Where else have you looked? I checked out MVP and they told me $75/mo. I think that's a bit outrageous. The Y at $56 is a little better, I'm just going to wait to see how busy it is before I join.

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superNOVA    0

I also looked at some of the colleges. Sure, they are not as nice (except GVSU) but they are cheap. I happened to go to GRCC a long time ago, and the rate for previous students is like $10 month. GVSU is $1 per visit for alumni. Walker City Fitness Center is also around like $30.

I mean, it is not all that high, but it was more than I was expecting.

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joeDowntown    664

svs650k3,

I was skeptical about $75 / month at MVP but it is worth every penny if you are looking for a REALLY nice gym (reminds me of a club or restaurant more than a gym). And you NEVER have to wait in line.

Does anyone know a member of the MVP on Burton will be able to use the MVP downtown (Penn Club)?

Joe

Where else have you looked?  I checked out MVP and they told me $75/mo.  I think that's a bit outrageous.  The Y at $56 is a little better, I'm just going to wait to see how busy it is before I join.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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GRCentro    56

I toured the Y on Saturday and it is fantastic! Congrats to Integrated Architecture, their design is beyond my expectations. I can't wait to start working out there -- with the some of the best skyline views in the city! (I'll have to bring my camera along while running on the track ;) )

And addition to all the top-notch facilities, there were a couple notable surprises. The lobby will include a "Lil Bite" cafe, owned and operated by the Gilmore Group. Also, in addition to LEED certification, there are solar panels on the roof. A screen in the lobby displays the current power intake data. Nice.

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twoshort    8

a little info for any GVSU students lurking around:

" GVSU students will receive a promotion starting in the fall, payable with tuition. The membership will be a

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svs650k3    0

a little info for any GVSU students lurking around:

" GVSU students will receive a promotion starting in the fall, payable with tuition.  The membership will be a

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joeDowntown    664

Has anyone noticed the YMCA looking pretty grimey already. Do they plan on giving the building a good bath? What caused it to stain so bad, so quick?

Joe

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civitas    11

Has anyone noticed the YMCA looking pretty grimey already. Do they plan on giving the building a good bath? What caused it to stain so bad, so quick?

Joe

I don't know about the Y, but I have noticed that a number of the DT buildings are looking pretty dirty.

The green canopies on the Ledyard Building are filthy, as is 50 Monroe.

149552718_dd2bfdc0f0.jpg

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numstead    0

Has anyone noticed the YMCA looking pretty grimey already. Do they plan on giving the building a good bath? What caused it to stain so bad, so quick?

Joe

I've seen that too. Its caused by the high moisture concentration on the inside of the building (you'll notice it only happens around the pool areas) forces its way out through micro-perforations in the building envelope. Evidently the building was sealed incorectly. Wheter its a design thing (architect) or construction thing (builder), I don't know, but it shouldn't be happening. Giving the building a bath won't fix the problem.

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GRDadof3    1839

I've seen that too. Its caused by the high moisture concentration on the inside of the building (you'll notice it only happens around the pool areas) forces its way out through micro-perforations in the building envelope. Evidently the building was sealed incorectly. Wheter its a design thing (architect) or construction thing (builder), I don't know, but it shouldn't be happening. Giving the building a bath won't fix the problem.

I think that's the third or fourth flaw in that building. Someone wasn't on the ball.

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I think that's the third or fourth flaw in that building. Someone wasn't on the ball.

What do you mean by grimey?

The only real visible flaw I can see is in the showers. They chose to use painted cinder blocks for the shower stalls, and now the paint is all completely chipping away. They are now wising up and are in the process of replacing all of the shower stalls in all of the locker rooms with tiled walls.

During the period from New Years to Spring Break, I would say the place is very, very gross and dirty unless you go first thing in the morning after is has been cleaned from the previsou day. i just don't think they have the cleaning staff to keep up with the volume of people that pass through there....

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joeDowntown    664

Grandrollerz- I'm talking about the outside of the building. It looks like it is oozing something (ectoplasm? :) ).

It's a shame to hear that it is something more than bad runoff or something. I hope they fix it.

Joe

What do you mean by grimey?

The only real visible flaw I can see is in the showers. They chose to use painted cinder blocks for the shower stalls, and now the paint is all completely chipping away. They are now wising up and are in the process of replacing all of the shower stalls in all of the locker rooms with tiled walls.

During the period from New Years to Spring Break, I would say the place is very, very gross and dirty unless you go first thing in the morning after is has been cleaned from the previsou day. i just don't think they have the cleaning staff to keep up with the volume of people that pass through there....

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MAU    0

What do you mean by grimey?

The only real visible flaw I can see is in the showers. They chose to use painted cinder blocks for the shower stalls, and now the paint is all completely chipping away. They are now wising up and are in the process of replacing all of the shower stalls in all of the locker rooms with tiled walls.

During the period from New Years to Spring Break, I would say the place is very, very gross and dirty unless you go first thing in the morning after is has been cleaned from the previsou day. i just don't think they have the cleaning staff to keep up with the volume of people that pass through there....

It looks like chlorine stains on the outside of the building.

And in addition to the shower issue, they've had a few problems. On the third floor they were having a condensation issue and it looked like the roof was leaking around the track.

And don't get me started on the parking issue. That's not the Y's fault though, it's the cities.

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CK1    0

It looks like chlorine stains on the outside of the building.

And in addition to the shower issue, they've had a few problems. On the third floor they were having a condensation issue and it looked like the roof was leaking around the track.

And don't get me started on the parking issue. That's not the Y's fault though, it's the cities.

Does anyone know how the new YMCA is doing compared to expectations? Looks like originally they were guestimating an additional 7,500 new members. Having started going there myself, I've noticed that the place is packed during all but the slowest times of day. Did they plan for future expansion on the current site should membership / needs outgrow the facility?

Also, I agree that the place (especially the locker rooms) seems a ldirty, especially by 7 or 8 at night (after the post-work rush). Still, glad they put this place up - good location and overall good facilities.

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