As the downtown YMCA continues to search for new potential venues, the Lyric Theatre has recently been suggested as a place for the proposed downtown gym to call home. The Lyric Theatre has been vacant since the symphony and opera left in 2011, and the owner of the building has expressed interested in housing the YMCA and has encouraged a renovation project for the iconic and historic building, which would help raise the face of the Kansas City commercial real estate market in the downtown region.
The supporters of a new YMCA have previously focused on a site located at 10th Street and Grand Boulevard, but now they are exploring other options that would cut costs such as the estimated $9 million parking garage the initial site would require. Fundraising has been a vital effort for the project as well, with the major hurdle surfacing with the garage, since people aren’t very inclined to have a parking garage named after them.
Aside from the 100,000 square foot gym, the YMCA will have a healthy living center where downtown companies can send employees for classes, a day camp for children during the summer, and an early teen and adult education center. Combined with the garage, the project was slated to run about $39 million. By renovating the existing Lyric Theatre, the project should save substantially.