Looking Ahead – Downtown Y Renewal

As previously announced, the Y is actively exploring options for a new downtown Victoria YMCA – YWCA. The Y engaged Colliers International to help assess market opportunities and a request for proposals was issued at the end of August 2017. Round one resulted in some interesting possibilities and completed at the end of November. As part of the due diligence process and to ensure a thorough evaluation of our options had taken place, the Board asked Colliers to go back to the market for a second time in January 2018. Round two completed in February and a short list of proposals was selected for further review and evaluation. This process is underway and further updates will be provided over the next few months. This is an exciting time as the Y looks forward to its future in Victoria for the next 140 years.

As you know the Y is actively exploring options for a new downtown Victoria YMCA – YWCA. As previously announced, the Y engaged Colliers International to help assess market opportunities. Colliers issued a request for proposals at the end of August, and round one – which resulted in some interesting possibilities – completed at the end of November. The Board has asked Colliers to go back to the market for a second time in January as part of the due diligence process and a thorough evaluation of our options.This is to confirm the process for the downtown Victoria YMCA- YWCA property has not concluded as the YMCA-YWCA continues to explore all options to advance their goal of a new facility in the downtown core through;

  • redevelopment partnership on the existing site
  • sale of existing property, and partnership in a complementary development or
  • sale of existing property and re-location in the downtown core

We expect to review offers and expressions of interest by Spring 2018 and we will provide informational updates as opportunities present themselves.

In 2015, a needs assessment was conducted which highlighted issues and opportunities as well as the progression of the Y’s role in the community. As the downtown community has continued to evolve and change since then, we will be sending a survey to program members next month to ensure we capture feedback and ideas on the social impacts and needs of a growing urban population.

This information will ensure the Y remains a relevant charity and the new facility serves as a catalyst to serve the changing needs of the community for the next 50 years. When the survey results are tabulated the Y will invite program members to review and discuss the findings.

The YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island has engaged Colliers International (Colliers) to explore potential opportunities for a new building with new facilities in the downtown core. As noted in our previous announcement, nothing changes for our staff or our members while Colliers identifies interested parties and brings forward options for our consideration. We anticipate that Colliers will present proposals to the Board for review by the end of the year. Proposals will outline opportunities for us to redevelop our facility as part of a larger development on our existing property, or, alternatively, a sale agreement that includes a viable relocation and new building opportunity in the downtown area.In the event we are successful in finding a redevelopment partner, the YMCA-YWCA will have a leaseback option for 5 years with a possible 5-year extension.

We are committed to keeping staff and members updated as we move forward.

The Victoria Y on Broughton Street is now 52 years old. For more than a decade, the Board has contemplated our aging facility and in 2012 and 2015, undertook a needs assessment and facilities study. That assessment highlighted both issues and opportunities as well as the progression of the Y’s role in our community. We know that we have exciting opportunities ahead. As we look to our future, we also know we have important factors to consider:

  • Our current facilities are not completely accessible to people with disabilities and do not offer universal change rooms. As such, they do not reflect some of the key social values that define our community.
  • We are fast-approaching the time when we must make some important and costly maintenance investments. Renovations will trigger very costly seismic upgrade requirements and our current space configuration is very inefficient.

In consideration of all of these factors, we have come to the realization that a new building with new facilities in the most desirable option.

  • The YMCA-YWCA is committed to remaining in the Downtown core.
  • We will continue business as usual at our current site for at least five years and possibly longer.

The YMCA-YWCA has engaged Colliers International to assist with the exploration of our opportunities. At this point, Colliers have prepared and will be releasing a Request for Proposals to potential interested parties. Nothing will change for our members while Colliers identifies interested parties and brings forward options for our consideration.

Potential proposals may allow us to redevelop our facility as part of a larger development on our existing property, or, alternatively, a sale agreement that includes a viable relocation and new building opportunity in the downtown area.

In the event we are successful in finding a redevelopment partner, the YMCA-YWCA will have a leaseback option for 5 years with a possible 5-year extension.

It is important to us that our staff and members receive regular updates as we move forward. We expect to receive offers and expressions of interest by the end of 2017 and we will ensure that we provide informational updates as opportunities present themselves.

As our Region has grown and changed, the Y has evolved to meet and strengthen the development of healthy communities.In 2016, we opened the Westhills Y in partnership with Westhills and the City of Langford delivering health, fitness and aquatic programs and childcare services. We also opened a satellite facility at Eagle Creek Village in View Royal focusing on a range of fitness programs and childcare services. It’s now time to explore the future of our primary location, the Downtown Victoria Y at 851 Broughton Street, where the Y has been in operation for the past 52 years.

The Board has contemplated the Downtown Y’s facilities. A facilities study and needs assessment were undertaken in 2012 and 2015 respectively which highlighted issues and opportunities as well as the progression of our role in the community. As we look to the future with a desire to remain relevant, viable and accessible to all citizens, we are considering our options in the downtown core.

The Y is a charity, and the not-for-profit organization owns the property and facilities at 851 Broughton. The Board believes that it is prudent now to formally explore the strong real estate market and seek out innovative partnerships and redevelopment opportunities to position the Y in downtown Victoria for generations to come.

What this looks like, we don’t know. We are simply letting everyone know that we are formally exploring future opportunities for the greater benefit of everyone. Our members, our volunteers, our employees and families of all ages who participate in our programs are our priorities in all future considerations.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The existing Y is a well-loved and familiar space for our members. The facilities however are aging – they are 52 years old and they don’t meet the needs of all our members as they should.
  • Our current facilities do not reflect some of the key social values that define our community. For example, our facilities are not all accessible to people with disabilities and we don’t have universal change rooms.
  • We are fast approaching the time when we must make some important and costly maintenance investments. Renovations trigger very costly seismic upgrade requirements and our current space configuration is very inefficient.
  • A new building with new facilities is the most desirable option.

A universal change room has private change and shower cubicles and can be used by anyone regardless of gender or age.It provides a change area for:

  • Anyone with a disability who needs assistance
  • Families
  • People requiring a gender – neutral change area
  • Anyone requiring a private cubicle

  • There will still be male and female change rooms, a universal change room will be provided in addition to male and female change rooms

  • We are happy to receive suggestions at any time, they can be sent via email

  • These are early days. Being relevant, innovative and efficient with respect to our programming and our services is an exciting opportunity that we will embrace fully once we better understand what are options are.

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