DETROIT-The Metro Detroit YMCA will be issuing a second bond issue in the next 60days to finish the financing of a $70 million building project for fivecenters in Southeast Michigan.The funds will be used to build three new YMCA facilities in downtownDetroit, Auburn Hills and Milford, though the Detroit project has beenreduced.

Reid Thebault, president and CEO of the Metro Detroitchapter, says Detroit’s facility has been lowered from five stories to three.

The proposal had consisted of the construction of a 100,000-sf, five-levelYMCA facility on 1.4 acres of land currently developed as a city-ownedsurface parking lot on property bounded by Broadway, John R., Farmer andGrand River roads. The Broadway People Mover station was to be incorporatedinto the new building, Thebault says.

However, he says the design changed.”We got more and more into the detail and costs related to demolishing thestation and rebuilding, and we came to the conclusion the costs far outweighthe benefits,” Thebault tells “We went back to redesigning thefacility, and brought it within 30 to 40 feet of the station, it will stillbe close to provide a convenient method to the facility.”

The new building will be built more in a triangular shape to maximize theuse of the site, Thebault says.

The YMCA will break ground on the three-story, 85,000-sf downtown Branch inOctober, scheduled to open in 2005. Features will include a performing artstheater, arts and humanities center/studio, sports arena, child care/familyresource center, natatorium (with lap lanes, a therapeutic pool and familyplay areas), wellness/fitness center and much more.

Thebault says plans include digging a half-story below grade for use for thebuilding. He says space will also be left for future expansion under thebuilding.

“We’re going to excavate an additional 12,000-sf to create more meetingspace, that will bring it up to almost 100,000-sf,” Thebault says.The downtown Detroit project will cost $30 million, he said.

“We’d like to have it open by Oct. 1, 2005, at least 60 days before theSuper Bowl comes to town, to be able to show our best face,” Thebault says.

The YMCA has raised about $31 million of a $35 million donation campaign,and had been trying to raise $35 million in tax-exempt bonds. The first bondsale raised $15 million, and the YMCA will give it another try.

The total amount of square footage to be built or renovated is 443,000-sf.The Downriver YMCA in Southgate recently opened in May.

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