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YMCA to sell Atherton site

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    The YMCA?of Honolulu said Monday it intends to sell its Atherton branch, which includes 53 apartments with 80 beds for University of Hawaii?students. Most of those units are in the Charles Atherton House, a three-story building built in 1932 which also has retail space with outdoor seating.

The YMCA of Hono­lulu is making another move to get out of the housing business on Oahu by offering to sell or lease two historic Manoa residence halls occupied by University of Hawaii students.

The nonprofit organization announced Monday its intent to divest itself of its Atherton branch at the corner of University Avenue and Metcalf Street.

Commercial real estate brokerage firm Colliers International is marketing the property without an asking price, and suggests that a new owner could renovate the student housing or convert the two buildings on an acre of land for other use such as senior housing or condominiums.

The effort comes two years after the YMCA decided to sell most of its Central Y property that includes affordable rentals on Atkinson Boulevard to pay for a new but smaller Y facility without apartments on a portion of the property near the edge of Wai­kiki.

In both cases the Y cited costs of maintaining facilities more than 50 years old.

"The YMCA board determined that continuing to allocate association funding and staffing to maintain and provide upgrades to the Atherton YMCA residence hall services and buildings was not an efficient way of expanding the Y’s mission of strengthening community through programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility," Colliers said in a statement.

Michael Broderick, president and CEO of the YMCA of Honolulu, said in a statement that selling or leasing the Atherton branch will allow the organization to expand services elsewhere.

"Although the physical form and location of the Atherton YMCA will change, we remain committed to serving students throughout our community through programs and service," he said.

The Atherton Y employs 16 people, and the nonprofit has committed to try to relocate any employees displaced by a sale or lease to one of its other eight facilities on Oahu.

The nonprofit said its Atherton residence service will continue through May and that a College Camp program that houses participants at the Atherton halls will be held in June and July.

Lisa Ontai, a YMCA of Hono­lulu spokes­woman, said the organization intends to continue programs currently offered at the Atherton Y such as the College Camp, the Alternative Spring Break Program and the University Leadership Conference.

There are 53 apartments with 80 beds for UH students at the Atherton Y. Most of those units are in the Charles Atherton House, a three-story building built in 1932 which also has retail space with outdoor seating that over the years has housed Burger King, Yogurtland and I Love Yogurt stores. A few apartments are in an adjacent building named after Mary Atherton Richards which was built in 1959 and houses a fitness center and the Coffeeline Campus Coffeehouse.

Both historic properties were donated to the YMCA by the Atherton Family Foundation, which aimed to help the nonprofit provide housing for UH students of moderate means.

Rents at the Atherton Y range from about $2,800 to $4,400 per semester, or about $700 to $1,100 per month.

Dennis Suyeoka, owner of Coffeeline, said he hopes he can continue the business that he has run since 1993. "I enjoy my clientele," he said. "I’m basically the de facto faculty club."

The city, for property tax purposes, values the Atherton Y property at a little over $10 million — $7.8 million for the land and $2.6 million for the buildings. Colliers said the replacement cost, or the cost to replace the YMCA’s Atherton branch asset with something similar, is about $13.5 million.

Mark Bratton, a Colliers agent, said he expects strong interest in the property given a shortage of land available for development in the area.

The land is zoned for residential use with a height limit of 25 feet.

At the Central Y, the nonprofit arranged to sell 1.5 acres of its 1.8-acre property to a developer that sought a zoning change to build a 350-foot condo tower. Project officials have indicated the developer would pay about $6 million for the parcel that would help finance construction of a new $8 million to $9 million Y facility on land retained by the nonprofit. About 115 boarding rooms at the Central Y would not be replaced.

The Central Y is slated to close Feb. 28, with new facilities reopening in late 2016.

If the Central Y and Atherton Y deals are completed, the YMCA of Hono­lulu would still have 70 rooms for rent at its Nuu­anu branch.

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