YMCA set to break ground on $22M CityWay project

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The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis plans to break ground next month on a $22 million facility in the CityWay development.

Trustees of the not-for-profit in May gave their approval to start the project July 16, after the YMCA cleared a $17 million fundraising benchmark necessary to trigger construction. The organization will raise the rest as building proceeds.

REW CityWay YMCA new rendering 15colThe new facility will feature two swimming pools on the first floor and three full-size gyms on the second floor. (Image courtesy YMCA)

Plans call for a three-story, 87,000-square-foot building with retail space on the ground level. In addition, the project features an adjoining two-story, 12,000-square-foot medical office building with surface parking.

The facility should be open by the end of next year, said Eric Ellsworth, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.

“This will not only serve the downtown work force, but children on the southeast side,” he said. “That’s what a market study showed, so we’re excited about that.”

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis operates 11 facilities in the area, including two downtown. But those facilities, in the Athenaeum and City Market, are considered “express” YMCAs because they don’t have pools or gymnasiums.

The new facility will feature two swimming pools on the first floor and three full-size gyms on the second floor.

Of the 50 largest cities in the country, Indianapolis is the only one without a downtown full-service YMCA, Ellsworth said. The YMCA had considered building on part of the former Market Square Arena site but ultimately deemed it too close to its City Market location, which is just across Alabama Street.

 “In the early years, the YMCA was an urban mission, so it was always in the heart of downtown,” he said. “When suburban life began, probably in the 1950s or 1960s, YMCAs starting popping up in suburban areas. And now we’re coming back to the center of the city.”

The YMCA’s mixed-use development will be on the southeast corner of Delaware and South streets, south of the Alexander Hotel in CityWay, on what is now a parking lot for Eli Lilly and Co. The glass on the upper two floors will face South Street to give patrons a view of downtown.

Lilly will lease the ground, and The Lilly Foundation, the drug manufacturer’s philanthropic arm, contributed $5 million toward the cost of the facility.

It will serve as the headquarters for the YMCA’s "Top 10 by 2025" initiative, which has a goal of making Indianapolis one of the healthiest cities in the country within the next 10 years.

Monthly YMCA memberships depend on income levels but typically range from $20 to $40 for an individual and from $40 to $80 for a family.

The architect for the project is Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects and the contractor is Shiel Sexton Co. Inc.

Developed by Buckingham Cos., CityWay includes the 157-room Alexander, 320 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space.

“We view the YMCA project as a real amenity to our residents at CityWay,” said John B. Cumming, Buckingham’s senior vice president of development, "and we see it as a catalyst for retail and restaurant tenants at CityWay as well."

Yolk, a Chicago-based upscale breakfast eatery, is set to open by the end of the month and will join Cerulean and Qdoba as restaurant tenants at CityWay.


  • response
    It is easy to raise funds when the community is affluent. Looking at the YMCA's mission and values, it goes on and on about inclusiveness, serving the poor, etc. It is also a fact that their tiny workout room here on the NW side charges the same as full facilities. The gains and costs are supposedly shared in a metro area, allowing sliding scale fees. It is the system they have been using, to include those who could not otherwise afford their services. Should this system be used to also include under served areas in the city? My point is if you look at the map of Indy the NWside has nothing but a workout room, very unbalanced. If they put into practice what they preach openly on their website, development would not be so slanted toward certain areas.
  • RE: Juliana Brost
    If you cared to read the article, it clearly states that the downtown project has cleared its fundraising goal, which triggered construction. Maybe Pike needs to do a better job of fundraising? Go knock on Lilly's door and see if they'll contribute to your project.
    • amen
      well said and I agree
    • Where is our YMCA?
      Meanwhile the Northwest side is completely under served. They have had the land for year with no movement to do anything with it. The rich suburbs are getting upgrades, Eli Lilly gets a nice facility and Pike gets nothing.
      • when is our turn
        Are they ever going to build the one in Pike that they have been promising for years?
      • Rollercoaster correction
        And the rooftop will have a pretty sweet rollercoaster on it.
      • Floor Corrections
        As someone familiar with the project... the pool is on the first floor, not second, with a mix of retail and YMCA services. The gym is on the second floor, not third.
      • Eli Lilly
        Fact checker: Thanks for pointing out the error. It's been corrected.
      • Lilly Contribution Correction
        Eli Lilly did not donate the land for the City Way Project. Lilly will retain ownership and lease the ground. http://hadenoughindy.blogspot.com/2011/08/city-way-rebranding-of-north-of-south.html

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