Downtown Y Getting New Riverfront Home
By Gary Kauffman
When the new year rolls around, the Downtown YMCA will have a new home and a new name.
Danny McConnell, president and CEO of the Family Y, made the announcement Monday afternoon in the lobby of Discovery Plaza, home of Unisys and formerly Fort Discovery, on Reynolds Street.
“We chose to have this press conference in Discovery Plaza because as soon as the renovations are done, this will be our new home,” he said.
Unisys occupies half of the first floor and the Y will take over the east half of the floor. McConnell promised an aggressive renovation schedule. Services in the current facility will end on Dec. 31 and the new facility will open on Jan. 1, 2018.
A few weeks ago, TaxSlayer announced that it had purchased the building on Broad Street that has housed the Y for the past six years. The Y decided to find a new location because renovation costs to the current building would have exceeded $5 million.
After renovations in Discovery Plaza, the new YMCA facility will house a large cardio and weight training area with a wall of glass overlooking the Savannah River and a separate large facility for group activities. The new location also opens up possibilities for outdoor activities and possibly using the river. However, there will not be a pool.
One of the key additions to the new facility will be parking. The Y members will have access to the building’s parking garage.
After announcing the new location, McConnell had one more surprise – a name change. When the facility opens in January it will be known as Riverfront YMCA.
Currently YMCA staff offices are in the downtown building, but will not move to the new facility. Plans are to move the staff offices to the area of River Watch Parkway near exit 200 of I-20. A facility there will be more central to the various YMCA branches in the Augusta-Columbia County area.