News & Opinion

Johnston YMCA Announces Plans to Close at End of Year

Community association says it was left out of facility's plans for years

The brick facade of the Johnston YMCA with picnic tables and a large tree out front.
The Johnston YMCA on Tuesday announced it will permanently close at the end of the year after selling to a developer. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte announced on Tuesday that the Johnston YMCA facility in NoDa will shut down at the end of the year, abandoning previous plans to remain at the site through a long-awaited redevelopment that has been in the works for years.

According to the Johnston YMCA website, the organization recently selected a developer after a two-year RFP process.

“As we consider the long-term financial needs of our Y, we have come to the decision to sell the Johnston YMCA property to the selected developer, without a future physical YMCA presence on the site,” read a release on the site. “This decision, while in the best interest of our Y, was extremely difficult for us to make, and we know that many community members will share in our disappointment.

“While our original intent was to maintain a physical branch presence on the site,” the release continued, “this decision was made following careful consideration of the existing branch’s limitations and our association’s overall financial needs.”

The release went on to state that, while details are not yet finalized, staff intends to finish out the year at the facility, remaining open to current members and carrying out its scheduled programming.

Meanwhile, multiple board members with the NoDa Neighborhood & Business Association (NBA) expressed their frustration to Queen City Nerve, alleging that the release’s claims to have worked with the community on a redevelopment plan were false.

“We are very disappointed in hearing the news on the sale of the Johnston Y,” said Krysten Reilly, president of the NoDa NBA. “For years, the NoDa NBA has asked the Y for their willingness to collaborate with us for a community center that brought value to both the NoDa community and to the YMCA and we were ignored and pushed aside. To learn through a public press release of this sale when I personally had once again asked for an update a week ago is insensitive and shows the Y’s failure to be inclusive and respectful of the community they will no longer reside in.

“We can only hope that whatever developer has purchased their lot will be more willing to work with the NoDa community and will work to uphold some of the very valuable community amenities that are so desperately needed in our neighborhood,” Reilly continued.

As of Tuesday afternoon, it was not yet confirmed which developer is buying the property, though a source familiar with the ongoing negotiations told Queen City Nerve that the buyer is the Republic Family of Companies, a real estate developer with offices in Washington D.C., Connecticut and California.

Republic is also the developer behind the Gateway Station project in Uptown, which saw the first phase of its construction completed in November 2022.

Originally called the North Charlotte YMCA, what is now the Johnston Y was established in 1948 after Richard Horace Johnston, president of Highland Park Manufacturing, invited the Charlotte YMCA to form a branch in what was then known as North Charlotte, according to the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.

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