Posted on 11/27/2012 at 03:32 PM by YMCA of Greater Des Moines
YMCA Board of Directors votes to move forward with purchase of Polk County Convention Complex
The vote was the final action needed to move the landmark downtown land deal forward
DES MOINES, Iowa (Nov. 27, 2012) – The Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines has approved a measure to sign a letter of agreement with the intent to purchase the Polk County Convention Complex. The vote allows a landmark downtown land swap between Des Moines business leaders to move forward.
“The YMCA of Greater Des Moines is committed to maintaining a presence in downtown Des Moines and we’re thrilled to be able to work with Polk County, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and other community leaders to make this a reality,” said Vernon Delpesce, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. “We believe that a new, state-of-the-art YMCA will have a tremendous impact on the downtown community.”
The YMCA Board of Directors agreed to:
Polk County Supervisors and Wellmark officials signed the letter of agreement last week that gave Polk County ownership of the former JC Penney’s building at 222 Fifth Ave. for use as a new courts building. Wellmark owns the vacant building and will, in turn, receive ownership of the Plex. The transaction is expected to be finalized in early 2013.
“All the pieces are now in place for Polk County and the YMCA to move forward with planning for their future needs,” said John Forsyth, Wellmark Chairman and CEO. “We are proud to have played a central role in the next phase of revitalization for downtown Des Moines.”
“The Plex is an ideal location to build the new downtown Y, especially with its direct access to the skywalk system,” Delpesce said. “We believe we will be able to better serve the downtown community and continue to enhance the quality of life and health of Des Moines.”
Plans for the new downtown YMCA tentatively include a 50-meter pool with significant seating to host major aquatic events, gym and indoor track, handball and racquetball courts, and a wellness center.
“This transaction is the first step toward establishing a courts campus near the Polk County Courthouse and provides an opportunity to move the YMCA into the downtown core placing their river front property available for redevelopment fitting within the future vision of downtown. This is a perfect example of the private and public sector working together by removing a significant inventory of vacant office space and creating a great opportunity for Polk County and the community,” stated Polk County Board of Supervisors Chair, Angela Connolly.
The Wellmark building is move-in ready and will provide the County with the opportunity to move offices for the County Attorney and Clerks records immediately out of leased space. The moves will require minimal renovations and will create cost savings for the County.
About the YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Through innovative programs in healthy living, youth development and social responsibility, the YMCA of Greater Des Moines (www.dmymca.org) serves the Central Iowa community. Annually, the YMCA through its 9 locations, the Y Camp in Boone and the Supportive Housing Campus in downtown Des Moines, serves more than 85,000 people.
Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com ) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association