Local News

Central YMCA Kicks Off Rebuilding Project

Posted July 15, 2006

— A hub of community activity and service for more than 40 years, the front section of the Central YMCA is now just a skeleton of a building. The heart and soul moved out, clearing the way for demolition crews.

On Saturday, workers prepared last-minute safety measures to protect the rest of the building. The back building will stay open to members during the demolition week with only a few limitations.

Crews will take the front building down section by section to make room for a new $15 million state-of-the-art fitness center.

"It's time, we're all excited about it," said YMCA representative Jack Cleves. "However, there's a lot of nostalgia that took place in there, so it's weird seeing the front of the building the way it is now."

Even in this last, sacrificial act, the old building is providing for the health and fitness of the area. Business owners in the area are taking great interest in what happens at the Central YMCA, hoping it attracts even more people to Hillsborough Street.

"The many millions they're putting into their renaissance, their redevelopment, will spur development up and down this section of Hillsborough Street," said David Smoot with the Velvet Cloak Inn

Next door to the YMCA project, the Velvet Cloak Inn is undergoing its own renovation, becoming a condo-motel.

The YMCA hopes to have the new fitness center open a year from now. Meanwhile, Raleigh is changing Hillsborough Street itself. Just last Tuesday, the City Council gave final approval for work on three traffic circles. Construction should start early next year.

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