Downtown Dallas YMCA Deal Called Off

Downtown Dallas | Image by dfwdronefootage.com

The future is still being determined for the T. Boone Pickens YMCA in Downtown Dallas after a deal with an unidentified buyer fell through this week.

The sale of the historic YMCA on North Akard, which has been serving the community since 1983, was supposed to close this month, yet the buyer walked away for undisclosed reasons, reported The Dallas Morning News. 

“While this is an unexpected turn, it speaks to the current market,” explained Curt Hazelbaker, president and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, in a letter to members, according to the DMN.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the sale of the nearly century-old 211,000-square-foot building was announced in September. While the price was undisclosed, previous estimates placed the property’s worth at around $12 million. However, according to Hazelbaker, the facility was also said to need an estimated $8 million in critical repair work. 

News of the sale was met with some pushback from local community members.

“It’s the best gym in Dallas. It isn’t perfect, but no place is,” said Dr. Michael Schlesser, a YMCA member since 1980, according to the Dallas Observer. 

“[Hazelbaker’s] on a mission to get rid of it. He’s abandoned the mission of the YMCA,” Schlesser added. 

Now that the sale is off, the YMCA will resume operations. However, a spokesperson for the organization told the DMN that the board of directors would still be considering offers “commensurate with the value of the building.”

The nationwide real estate market has been disrupted by soaring interest rates and stricter borrowing conditions set by loan companies. Nonetheless, the demand in Dallas-Fort Worth has remained relatively robust, especially regarding industrial and retail ventures, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Yet the attractiveness of real estate assets in Downtown Dallas is dampened by the neighborhood being a hotbed for crime, especially motor vehicle theft. A study by the Metroplex Civic and Business Association (MCBA) logged 91 car thefts in Downtown Dallas in April compared to just two in Fort Worth’s downtown area.

“The MCBA Business leaders know and realize this fact, which is why some of them have already moved their operations to the suburbs,” explained Louis Darrouzet, CEO of the MCBA, in an opinion piece appearing in The Dallas Express.

Downtown Dallas’ high rates of crime are exacerbated by the citywide epidemic of homelessness and vagrancy, according to Darrouzet. This is especially true in the cases of robbery and assault, with downtown Fort Worth logging six times fewer assaults compared to Downtown Dallas, according to another MCBA study conducted in September.

“[Vagrants] are individuals that end up staying on the street longer, the ones that need addiction support and mental health treatment, the ones stealing to eat. They’re assaulting people to get money. It creates a dynamic where they’re kind of in a fight or flight situation; they’re trying to survive,” Darrouzet told The Dallas Express.

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