The YMCA of Honolulu has decided to sell its Central Y property on the edge of Waikiki after an unsuccessful attempt to build a new facility there in partnership with a developer, the nonprofit announced today.
The decision, which will displace low-cost rental apartments operated by the Y at the 401 Atkinson Drive property, was a difficult one, YMCA officials said.
“Our Central YMCA facility has been such a mainstay for our community, and we are extremely grateful for the tremendous support we have received from our members over the past decades,” Michael Broderick, YMCA of Honolulu president and CEO, said in a statement. “While we know that some people will be disappointed that we will not build a new Central YMCA on this site, we are excited and looking forward to reallocating our assets to better serve our community as a whole. It has been a long and frustrating journey for our organization and our Y members, but the bright spot during these years has been our ability to provide otherwise unsheltered children, families and individuals with a safe place to live while they are building better futures.”
The Y closed its health and fitness facilities on the property in 2015 in preparation for redevelopment that called for a developer to build new Y facilities on part of the site at no cost to the nonprofit. The developer, in turn, planned to build a condominium tower on part of the property.
This deal fizzled and ended in an arbitration settlement.
Wayne Hamano, chairman of the YMCA of Honolulu Metropolitan Board, said the decision to sell the property was based on high costs to operate and maintain the Central Y building dating to 1951. He also said the community changed over the last seven decades, with fewer families and seniors who typically use Y facilities replaced by more residents in higher-end condos that have their own fitness centers.
“The decision to sell the entire Central property was a difficult one and one that the board made only after extensive research and deliberation,” Hamano said in a statement.
The Y expects to soon retain a commercial real estate broker to market and sell the Atkinson Drive property.
Eight full-time and three part-time employees work at the Central Y. The nonprofit said once a sale is completed it will do its best to accommodate affected employees with possible relocation to other Y branches or severance benefits.