Sep 21, 2023 - Development

Johnston Y will remain open “for the foreseeable future”

Johnston YMCA

Johnston YMCA

Months after announcing plans to close by the end of 2023, YMCA officials have reversed course, confirming Thursday that the beloved Johnston YMCA in NoDa will remain open “for the foreseeable future.”

What’s happening: The deal to sell the property to developer Republic Metropolitan, which had planned to add apartments and retail to the property, is off.

  • The Y cited “current market conditions” in a statement to Axios.
  • The Y will continue to “explore options for the future” of the Johnston Y to help improve the organization’s financial health.

Why it matters: The Johnston Y is a community institution, anchored in a building that dates back to the 1950s. When news broke of the branch’s impending closure, the community mourned the loss of its history, fitness programs and childcare offerings.

  • Neighbors had also said they felt blindsided by the Y’s decision to sell the property. Y officials had previously said they’d maintain a presence in NoDa.

[Go deeper: Community mourns the impending closure of the Johnston Y in NoDa]

The Charlotte Observer first reported that the Johnston Y will remain open.

What they’re saying: “At the Johnston Y, the focus will continue to be on health and wellness programming, with information on additional programming, including youth offerings, available in the coming weeks,” Joe Angelon, SVP of Southern Operations for YMCA of Greater Charlotte, said in a memo to Y members Thursday morning.

Between the lines: The Y announced plans in May to sell the prominent 5.8-acre Johnston Y property on North Davidson to a developer. The decision stemmed from consideration of the branch’s limitations, plus the association’s “overall financial needs.”

  • Total revenue for the Y was down more than 28% from 2019 to 2021, per the Observer, citing tax records. Membership these days is down about 25% since 2019.
  • But after three years of deficits, the YMCA is on pace to at least break even this year — and potentially turn a profit, the Observer reported.

Zoom out: This summer, Republic Metropolitan filed permits with both the city and county for a project called “NoDa Village.” It was to include 455 multi-family units, retail and a “central greenspace,” filings showed.

  • A Republic Metropolitan spokesperson declined to comment on the Johnston Y deal.

What’s next: Charles Bowman, the chair of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s board of directors, told the Observer that the organization will continue looking for a buyer for the Johnston Y site.

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