South Charlotte

New Ballantyne YMCA facility to be ready by 2016

A rendering of the new Sara’s YMCA in Ballantyne. The new facility
A rendering of the new Sara’s YMCA in Ballantyne. The new facility Courtesy of Molly Thompson

South Charlotte residents participating in the annual Run! Ballantyne event May 2 have a new start and finish line this year: a new YMCA.

As part of a community-wide kickoff for the Sara’s YMCA, the 11th annual 8K and 5K will be held at the site, said Molly Thompson, a YMCA of Greater Charlotte spokeswoman.

During the event, residents will have a chance to look at renderings of the facility and learn more about it.

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte announced the new YMCA, in Ballantyne Corporate Park at the corner of Ballantyne Corporate Place and Brixham Hill Drive, in March.

Officials named the facility Sara’s Y after Sara Bissell, late wife of Ballantyne developer H.C. “Smoky” Bissell, Thompson said.

Thompson said the facility, which will be between 22,000 and 24,000 square feet, is expected to break ground sometime in May and should be complete by early 2016.

The new YMCA is less than a mile from the existing Ballantyne Village YMCA, which is an express facility. Such facilities offer fewer programs and amenities than full-size Ys.

Thompson said the Ballantyne Village YMCA is nearing the end of a 10-year lease that officials will not renew.

Instead, she said, the organization plans to “transition to Sara’s Y without any lapse in service for current members.”

“They’re going to be using a brand new, beautiful facility that’s going to be a better place to be,” Thompson said. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s a good use of the Y’s resources.”

She said the new YMCA will bring all the amenities the express YMCA had and more; in fact, she said, it will be double the size.

Some of the amenities planned include: locker rooms; a café or grab-and-go food service; outdoor fitness area; a mind and body garden; space for TRX suspension training, traditional personal training and Pilates Reformer training; and large-group exercise classrooms that connect to outside space, Thompson said.

She said Sara’s YMCA, like the Ballantyne Village YMCA, will serve adults 16 or older.

The cost to develop the new YMCA is $5 million, although Thompson said the organization already has received “a generous lead gift from Smoky and Margaret Bissell to name the facility in honor of Sara Harris Bissell.” Thompson said that amount was $2.5 million.

More than just a workout venue, Thompson said, officials hope the new YMCA, like the organization’s other facilities, will facilitate more community interaction.

She said the facility will have common areas where people can gather, talk and maybe even plan service projects together.

“There’s a great emphasis on connecting and engaging in this branch,” said Thompson. “What you’re going to see in that area is a lot more connections for those people to be able to benefit the larger communities in ways we haven’t been able to do without that Y there.”

Arriero: 704-358-5945; On Twitter: @earriero