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YMCA selling its White Plains building

YMCA white plains
The building on Mamaroneck Avenue was built in 1927. Photo by Aleesia Forni

The YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester plans to sell its building on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains.

Officials said that rising maintenance costs for the structure at 250 Mamaroneck Ave. prompted the decision to list the property for sale. In the past four years, the organization has poured more than $1 million into the nearly century-old building.

“Given the unsustainable costs of maintaining this aging building, we felt this was our best option to continue offering our many services to our valued members,” said Cynthia Rubino, president and CEO of the YMCA of Central & Northern Westchester. “These funds would be better spent bringing vital services to our community at various locations throughout our service area.

The building was constructed in 1927 and, along with offering a range of youth development programming, features a fitness center and recreation area. There is also an aquatics center on the premises, though the pool has been out of commission for months.

Rubino said that growing competition from health clubs also contributed to the organization’s decision to sell the property. In the past, the Rubino said the YMCA “was the only gym in town.”

“That’s changed dramatically.”

The facility is also home to roughly 140 short- and long-term tenants. These tenants, who can pay a daily, weekly or monthly rate, are given furnished rooms and full access to the YMCA’s facilities.

Rubino said that prior to announcing the sale, she reached out to a number of local and county officials. Together with those officials, the nonprofit plans to organize a housing fair in May, which will give the building’s residents options for finding a new home.

“We did this so far in advance, because we want people to get the right thing they need,” she said.

The organization estimates the sale process could last between 18 to 24 months, and the YMCA of Central & Northern Westchester will continue to operate out of the facility during that time.

After the building’s sale, the YMCA plans to transition into a “nonfacility YMCA” model, which brings services to its members through other non-YMCA owned locations. The YMCA said it is seeking program partners as it moves to this new model.

“We don’t need a building,” Rubino said. “We really think this model, being the ‘Y on the Move,’ is going to resonate with the community. It would be great to go to say, The Slater Center, and offer a diabetes program, or to get out there in the community and partner with people who have a built-in audience, instead of making everyone come to us.”

Rubino said this new “Y on the Move” model will allow the organization to grow its programming and serve additional communities.

With this transition, the YMCA will become one of more than 200 nonfacility branches of the nonprofit across the country.

“It’s very much a trend,” Rubio said. “The world is changing.”

Still, she said that “the anchor we have will continue in White Plains at another location.”

The organization’s child care center, which serves 200 children each day, will be moved to another site. That location has yet to be determined but will likely have additional space for senior or youth development programming, Rubino said.

“The Y is not a building. The Y is a movement,” she said. “That’s what we’re trying to bring to the community.”

The future of the aging building remains uncertain.

“We’ve had a number of inquiries,” Rubino said, from private developers who may redevelop the site to other nonprofits who would transform the structure into workforce housing.

The White Plains YMCA, which serves communities including Scarsdale, Elmsford, Hartsdale, Larchmont, Port Chester, Mamaroneck and Greenburgh, is one of three branches of the YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester. The organization also operates Camp Combe, a Putnam Valley summer day camp, and the Community YMCA in Purdys.

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