by CHRIS ROGERS
Fastenal is buying the Winona Area YMCA. YMCA Interim CEO Bill Soper announced last Friday afternoon that Fastenal agreed to purchase the current Y building, and YMCA Marketing Director Paul Brown said the sale brings the Y’s fundraising campaign to build a new facility up to $13.1 million, under $1 million away from its $14-million goal. Fastenal Vice President for Real Estate Dana Johnson said the company plans to use the property to provide parking for its planned 400-600-employee office building at Washington and Second streets.
The YMCA’s previous sale agreement, with the autism therapy company Partners in Excellence, was canceled this summer because the Y was not going to make the agreement’s deadline for moving out of the current building by March 2019. Slower than expected progress on the Y’s campaign to build a new facility put the Y behind schedule for that move-out deadline. The new sale agreement with Fastenal gives the Y more time, and the sale proceeds bring the Y closer to its fundraising goal.
For Fastenal, the purchase helps the company provide needed parking for its big new office building, which the company plans to build a few blocks away.
“As you know Fastenal is planning to do an expansion in downtown Winona, and we are a very strong advocate of Opportunity Winona,” Johnson said, referring to the city of Winona’s name for its recent push for big downtown development projects. “We also believe the Y is an important aspect of our community. So after the other sale fell through our leadership felt that it would be the appropriate thing for us to step up.”
Johnson said that, at the moment, Fastenal’s only plan for the property is to create parking. Asked if that would involve removing the current building, Johnson replied, “Doesn’t that go without saying?”
Fastenal was looking for parking and the Y was looking for a buyer, Brown noted. “I was just happy, as a citizen, that it was a very logical conclusion,” he stated.
“This is great news for the Winona Family YMCA because the agreement allows for the YMCA to remain in the current facility until the planned new facility is complete,” Soper wrote in a statement.
Y leaders said they are still finalizing the design of the new facility and would not be able to set a firm groundbreaking date until fundraising is complete. Now that campaign is getting close. “We’re excited to be in the last stretch and under that $1-million mark,” Brown stated. “I think this will generate a good bit of energy, and that last bit of energy we need to get over the finish line.”
Johnson declined to disclose the sale amount. When the sale is finalized and recorded, the amount will become public information.
Fastenal officials have said that construction of their new riverfront office building is scheduled for late 2019 or 2020.