There are big plans and changes ahead for the YMCA building at the intersection of Nevada Avenue and Bijou Street in downtown Colorado Springs.
The YMCA has announced it will rebuild its facility and also hired a developer to build a 100- to 200-unit apartment complex atop the new facility.
The new YMCA building could be as high as four stories, depending on whether the association moves its corporate offices to that location.
Officials said the apartments will include "workforce housing," offering lower rents for middle-class workers in the city -- which would be less than monthly rents of between $1,500 and $3,000 at newer downtown apartments.
"The YMCA units will be more affordable for the middle class than for lower income residents," said Laurel Prud'homme, of the Downtown Partnership. "But we need all price ranges right now because we're behind where we should be, due to the high demand."
The height of the new apartment building has not been determined, but a city official said the addition of housing could extend the height limit from six stories to ten.
The exact schedule of the $150-million project has yet to be revealed, but the first phase involves tearing down an old gas station on north end of the YMCA property, at the corner of Platte Avenue and Nevada.
Construction of the new YMCA facility will happen there -- nearly 50 years after the existing facility opened -- and the existing facility will remain open during that time.
Officials said the new YMCA will be a modern, top-of-the-line recreation and wellness center -- smaller than the existing facility -- with workout areas above the current basement setting, offering better scenery for users.
The project's second and third phases will include two mixed-use commercial buildings that could house shops, restaurants, offices and even a grocery store.
The project's developer is White Lotus Group, an Omaha-based firm that is well-regarded and has done similar projects for other YMCA branches across the country, Mayor John Suthers said Thursday.
Groundbreaking could happen late next year, and the new YMCA and the apartments could open two years afterward.
The existing YMCA will be demolished once the first construction phase is finished, and the YMCA is trying to acquire a parcel of property within that block to make room for the two commercial buildings.
Officials said they want the project to fit in well with nearby Acacia Park and First Presbyterian Church.
The YMCA project could spur more development in the north downtown area, officials said.
"We're getting closer to the goal I set several years ago of producing 1,000 affordable housing units annually, " Suthers said. "In this market, I'm not going to require developers to do it. But with tax credits and what not, they can offer some lower rents."
Downtown is in the midst of an apartment construction boom that has 732 units in five projects, in various stages of development with another 850 possible if high demand continues.
And in many instances, it's already too late to rent them.
Only eight of 171 units are available at the 333 ECO apartments, at the intersection of Colorado and Wahsatch avenues.
Six of 27 are vacant at CASA Mundi on South Tejon Street, which is still under construction.
Also still being built are the Cascade Apartments, on South Cascade Avenue, but all 184 units are taken.
The new soccer stadium about to be built along Cimarron Street will initially include 250 units and could total 1,000 eventually.