Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Old YMCA on Clark [pic] Previous Next
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Peter
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Username: Peter

Post Number: 20
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 10:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What does everyone know about the old YMCA on Clark AVE? It is a few blocks away from my ex-girlfriends house and I was always curious about it, but she seemed pretty unsure about it's history. In 2004 it was obvious that it was no longer a YMCA but it appeared to be occupied... anyone know what's happening there?
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Southwestmap
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Username: Southwestmap

Post Number: 751
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 11:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The owner is Peter Kefallinos. See this excerpt from a recent letter by a resident of Hubbard Farms that outlines some of the issues with the YMCA - once a beautiful, vibrant community building. The pool is all Pewabic tile and lovely:

" believe this must be the same Dennis Kefallinos who owns Niki's Pizza in Greektown, and Niki's Lofts, and the Lafayette Lofts, the Iron Steel Lofts on Mt. Elliott & Atwater, the Brooklyn Lofts, and others.

I also believe the Dennis Kefallinos is the same Dennis Kefallinos that Southwest Detroit (swd) community leaders supported 5-6 years ago in the purchase of our historic Western YMCA building at 1601 Clark St. just south of West Vernor because:

1) Dennis promised the community that he would be retrofitting it for residential living lofts and he would work with the community so the gym, pool, handball courts and meeting spaces could be available to the community. SWD community leaders also met Bob Goodfellow, his operations manager when Dennis fed a group of SWD community representatives at his adjacent South of the Border Restaurant adjacent to Niki's Pizza. The SWD community also dialogued with his realtor Sue Wenrick with River Pointe Realty (in Detroit on East Jefferson) who arranged the meeting with Dennis and made sure Dennis the SWD community's support and sealed the deal on the W-YMCA Building.

Unfortunately, Dennis Kefallinos never put a redevelopment along with a financing plan together and implemented that plan for our historic WMCA building, cannot even keep the graffiti off of it or the weeds cut down and grounds cleaned, the building has become a huge eyesore with glass doors and windows broken with partial boards on it, some windows on the upper floors are open letting the weather elements in, etc.,...

When Dennis purchased this building for approximately $450-500,000, this building was still occupied by the YMCA Staff with programs and leased the space they occupied from for a year or more but eventually stopped servicing the neighborhood and closed up shop as the YMCA's have done through many other inner city other neighborhoods. This historic WYMCA building is a gem and had been maintained well all of the years the YMCA controlled it, Dennis has not even maintained the exterior of the building and has created a horrific eyesore in our growing, thriving and redeveloping efforts of our SWD community.

2) The SWD community thought that the Western YMCA Building & our surrounding community would have a better future if Dennis retrofitted the building into residential loft living compared to the YMCA's direction was going to sell the historic building to the Detroit Rescue Mission.

There needs to be legislation in our city and state, that does not allow a property owner to let a property sit vacant, deteriorating and/or prospecting. They must be "prove they are actively in the predevelopment stages or renovating it and if not, then the property must be actively on the open market for sale by a licensed realtor with a for sale sign posted on the building." (end of letter)

So that's some background.
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Norwalk
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Username: Norwalk

Post Number: 37
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 11:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another Detroit Tale
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Homer
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Username: Homer

Post Number: 131
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 12:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That about covers it. And it sits, as our city fathers (& mothers) look the other way. Guess SWD should have supported KK instead of Hendrix in the last election. KK has a long memory and has treated SWD as a poor stepchild since he was crowned King Kwame for life.
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Barnesfoto
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Username: Barnesfoto

Post Number: 3255
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 12:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

SWD has always been the poor stepchild...
Y Board members tried to do a backroom deal on this place when they closed it; they were going to transfer ownership (without any consultation of the community, of course) to Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, a group that has a number of poorly run treatment centers for addicts.
Locals swarmed a couple of meetings, fending off another attempt at the Cass-Corridorization of SWD. At the time, the Kefallinos deal seemed like a positive step.
At this point, perhaps the best option would be for a sale to Southwest Solutions, a non-profit group that has done numerous large-building rehab projects in SWD.
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Fury13
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Username: Fury13

Post Number: 1473
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 1:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mr. Kefallinos seems to have his fingers in many pies...
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Southwestmap
Member
Username: Southwestmap

Post Number: 754
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 1:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The very best scenario would be that the YMCA would look at its mission and charism and decide that running a YMCA in SW Detroit is a great fit:
"From its start more than 150 years ago, when George Williams founded the YMCA as a substitute Bible study and prayer for life on the streets..."
"alternative to life on the streets" being the operative idea here
I'm of mixed mind about Southwest Solutions. Their beautifully-renovated apartment building on Clark is debris-strewn and the residents' mental and emotional problems are spilling out into the Park. Too many people with problems live in that building with (it appears) little or no social work support.
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Gambling_man
Member
Username: Gambling_man

Post Number: 988
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 1:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dennis is by far the biggest slumlord in Detroit....bar none. If you think the Illitches are bad, someone should do an expose' on the HUNDREDS of buildings he owns, only a few of which are occupied....MANY of them downtown....
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Homer
Member
Username: Homer

Post Number: 132
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 1:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Southwest Solutions (Confusions, Delusions) does do a nice job when renovating bricks and mortar, but they should be required by there funders to offer support for their clients who move into those buildings. Not just wave goodbye and head over to the next project.
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Barnesfoto
Member
Username: Barnesfoto

Post Number: 3257
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 1:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Understandable; I just can't see any other group taking on White-Elephant 1920's apt. buildings with lots of small units...These places worked well when our grandparents came here young and fresh-faced and looking for jobs, but today....?
Have you contacted SWS about that building?
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Lowell
Board Administrator
Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3746
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 7:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Western YMCA would make the ultimate luxury condo as it has a gym, handball courts, pool and more. What has amazed me is how the neon sign has stayed on continually even though it has been close for so long.

Western YMCA Detroit
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Lowell
Board Administrator
Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3747
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 7:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

PS: I believe Kefallinos owns another neighborhood stopper, the American aka Fort Wayne Hotel.

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