A major face-lift is still in the works for the Dowd Y, but the YMCA of Greater Charlotte is significantly retooling its plans.
The group sent a message to its members Monday about the renovation, which it announced last March. The group is still raising money for the renovation, which would expand and modernize the gym. Charlotte City Council approved the original renovation and expansion plans in September.
In a bid to improve parking, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte said it now plans to team with adjacent Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church and build a 65-foot-tall joint parking deck on a surface parking lot the church owns at Lexington and Caldwell streets.
That will take the place of the parking deck the Dowd Y had originally planned to build on its own property along South Boulevard. The new plan requires a fresh rezoning; the Dowd Y filed a request for it Monday. City Council could vote on the proposed plan in June, if the rezoning request moves forward on time.
“We are taking major steps to get this project started in a thoughtful and cost-effective way,” the YMCA of Greater Charlotte said in its Monday message.
If the plans are approved, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte hopes to start construction on the Dowd Y renovation this fall, though the timeline isn’t finalized. The gym would remain open during construction.
“Like you, we had hoped to begin before the end of 2015,” the YMCA wrote. “While we are still raising funds in support of the $26.5 million needed to make the project a reality, the biggest reason behind the delay is related to plans that will address our first priority for this project – PARKING.”
The new deck would be adjacent to the Lexington Dilworth, a 235-unit apartment complex Marsh Properties is building on Lexington Avenue. Those apartments are set to open in the fall.
Until the new deck opens, the Dowd Y suggested members consider coming at off-peak times to reduce parking congestion. The facility is the most-visited Charlotte-area YMCA, with between 3,000 and 4,000 daily users.
“We recognize parking can cause frustration for you and we are actively pursuing options to reduce crowding in our lot such as remote parking for our employees,” officials wrote. “This is an enormous project, and we are dedicated to doing it right while being good stewards of the funds generously entrusted to us.”