Volume 74, Number 12 | July 21 - 27, 2004

Chinatown YMCA starts capital drive

By Elizabeth O’Brien

At the end of next year, the Chinatown YMCA will expand into a gleaming, new facility that will open on the Bowery at Houston St.

On July 15, officials announced the beginning of a $2 million capital campaign to raise the remaining funds necessary for the $14 million project. The Chinatown Y will occupy 40,000 sq. ft. of a 462,000-sq.-ft. center being developed by AvalonBay Communities.

The new Y will represent a significant expansion of the Chinatown Y’s current programs, located in six schools community-wide. Local residents can’t wait for the new facility, with its full gym, volleyball courts, computer and meeting rooms and a six-lane, competitive-size swimming pool.

“Finally, I’ll learn to swim,” said Kelly Lin, 14, a Chinatown resident. Lin said she and many of her friends, as city kids, had no real opportunity to learn to swim — until now.

The Chinatown Y has already received $1.3 million in commitments toward its $2 million goal, said Hong Shing Lee, executive director of the Chinatown Y. Along with donations from private citizens, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields pledged $200,000, City Councilmember Alan Gerson pledged $125,000 and the City Council Manhattan delegation pledged $500,000.

Construction began late last year on the building, which will be 14 stories on the Chrystie St. side and eight stories on the Bowery. Along with the Y, the structure will house a large grocery store and 361 apartments.

Twenty percent of the apartments will be set aside for moderate-income residents. There will be 73 studios, 199 one-bedroom units and 89 two-bedroom units, said Robert Paley, senior development director at AvalonBay.

AvalonBay is contributing approximately $12 million toward the new recreation center, which will be operated by the Y and University Settlement. Jack Lund, president and C.E.O. of the YMCA of Greater New York, predicted the brand-new Y would be so wonderful that it would leave residents wanting more.

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