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YMCA announces return to downtown Rochester

inovation square 5.jpg
Max Schulte
Innovation Square will add a street level glass entrance for a new YMCA wellness center in the heart of Rochester. The new entrance will be along the south side of Broad Street.

The YMCA of Greater Rochester is planning a return to downtown — nearly a year and a half after closing its fitness center at the Carlson MetroCenter YMCA on East Main Street.

What is touted as a “wellness center” will be located inside Innovation Square. The former Xerox Tower now is geared toward student housing and small offices.

The nonprofit is taking over operations of the building’s existing fitness center. The space offers workout equipment but not the athletic courts, swimming pool and other amenities typical of a full-service YMCA.

Tenants will maintain 24-7 access, and later this month should be able to begin buying YMCA memberships that would let them join in group exercise classes and other programming.

The site will open to all YMCA members this fall during yet-to-be confirmed staffed hours, officials said. Plans filed with the city list public hours generally consistent with other area YMCAs.

Inovation Square 2.jpg
Max Schulte
Innovation Square will have a new street level glass incased entrance for a new YMCA wellness center in the heart of Rochester. The new entrance will be along the south side of Broad Street.

Those plans show a new glass entrance to be built on Broad Street, just west of the stairs. An adjacent gathering space with benches also would be added, plans show.

Visitors would take stairs or an elevator down to the fitness center space that opens onto a center courtyard. That outdoor area could be used for additional programming space, officials said.

The city is reviewing plans for the new entryway. Once approved, construction should take six months to complete, records show.

What’s to become of the YMCA’s East Main Street property is unclear. The fitness center there closed in March 2021.

Jeremy Moule

After the closure, the YMCA assessed its city services and community needs. It ultimately set short-term commitments for a “modified downtown wellness facility” focused on adult/senior wellness, and to find a partner that could share the Carlson MetroCenter with services focused on youths.

A second, full-service YMCA within the city limits, like Maplewood, is seen as a longer-term, multi-year effort.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's business and development reporter. He has been covering Rochester since 2005, working most of that time as an investigative reporter with the Democrat and Chronicle. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.
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