Old Lyric Opera building in downtown KC will soon become state-of-the-art YMCA equipped with wellness clinic

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Plans are moving forward to transform the old Lyric Opera building in downtown Kansas City into a state-of-the-art YMCA, and a new city incentive could help them finish fundraising.

The Downtown Y going in at 10th and Central won’t just be a place where you can work out. They will also offer health prevention programs to the community.

This will be one of the only Y’s in the nation with a wellness clinic, where families who don’t have easy access to health care can go to get tested and treated for diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and other ailments.

"The destination itself is very, very positive," said David Byrd, YMCA Greater KC CEO. "I have been the CEO of this in Kansas City for seven years, and I've seen all kinds of growth around that area. It's a great place to walk in, while we think people within a 4 to 5 block radius will walk to this location."

Here’s a look at what the $30-million facility will look like:

The plan is to renovate the Lyric Opera Building while maintaining the beauty of the structure.

For instance, the outside façade will stay the same, along with the lobby inside. But they will add workout equipment, a basketball gym, therapy swimming pools, medical offices and a cafeteria that serves healthy foods.

Fundraising for this project has been underway for some time, and so far they've raised $21 million of the $30 million needed. The math shows they only need $9 million to finish fundraising, but the CEO told FOX 4 they're looking to raise between $12 to $15 million to complete the project.

"It's very exciting, and it's overdue," Byrd said. "The timing of it. And of course it's just part of our mission of serving this community for 160+ years now, so this is just a reinvention of what we want to do in the downtown corridor."

The Y received good news last week - the city council plans to pursue $4-million in state tax credits, giving people the ability to write off a donation on their taxes.

Many are excited about a downtown YMCA, since the population continues to grow and workout options remain limited.

They hope to begin construction this fall and open it within the next two years. They expect up to 15,000 people to use this facility.

If you would like to learn more or are interested in donating, you can go to www.kansascityymca.org.