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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2007 01:29 am

New digs for the YWCA

The buyer of the historic building hints at future plans

The deal to sell the YWCA building is expected to close within weeks.
Untitled Document Things are looking up for the YWCA building and the organization it houses, with a potential buyer moving in and the struggling nonprofit moving out. Mary Hardy-Hall, executive director of the Young Women’s Christian Association, which provides job retention, after-school, and life-skills programs for women and children, said the organization will be moving into rented space at First United Methodist Church, just a block away, at 501 E. Capitol Ave. “We met each other’s needs, and it’s close,” Hardy-Hall said. “The church has space, and we’ll have use of the fellowship hall, so there will be room for the kids.”
Hardy-Hall said the organization has already started packing and intends to be in their new home by the end of October. The YWCA put its property up for sale for $495,000 in April, after the organization decided that they couldn’t afford to maintain the 96-year-old, 30,000-square-foot building. “We hated to lose the building,” Hardy-Hall said, “but we finally had to decide what was more important, our programming or our building. The insurance was astronomical, and it was just too expensive for us to maintain.”
Also this week, a spokesman for Springfield-based Logan Development confirmed that his company has entered into a real estate contract for acquisition of the soon-to-be-vacant YWCA building, 421 E. Jackson, and has put money down on the property.
“It’s under contract, and we anticipate closing within the next few weeks,” the spokesman said. While the spokesman declined to discuss specific plans for the building, he said the company will work with local historical societies to restore the space to its original condition.
The company is waiting for the proposed project’s drawings to come back from architects. Springfield native Brandon Cullen, owner of Capitol Steakhouse, created Logan Development earlier this year, the spokesman said, with the mission of enhancing the city through urban development. The company is currently in the process of renovating Lincoln Place, a three-story historical building at 118 S. Fourth St. that will feature retail and residential space, including eight loft-style condo units marketed toward younger downtown professionals. Logan Development plans to open a Lincoln Place model unit in October, the spokesman said.

Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com
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