Brooks Donates Fitness Center to YMCA in $16M Deal

8 01 2008

Brooks Rehabilitation is donating its Southside health and fitness center to the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. The donation, valued at $16 million, is the largest gift to the local YMCA in its history.

Effective Feb. 1, Brooks Health & Fitness will become the 19th YMCA location in a network of facilities that covers a five-county area in Northeast Florida. The facility opened in May 2006.

Brooks officials said donating the 60,000-square-foot center is the best way to expand its programs, such as adaptive sports, injury prevention and wellness.

“We determined that a gift to the YMCA with its existing network of 18 facilities and 65 program locations would best accomplish our goal,” said Brooks President and CEO Doug Baer.

Members of Brooks Health & Fitness will be given the option of joining the YMCA when the switch officially takes place Feb. 1, and will have the added enticement of lower rates. An individual membership at Brooks is $75 a month, while a similar membership at the YMCA, which includes access to all YMCA locations in Northeast Florida, is $55 a month.

“We currently have about 3,800 members,” said Betsy Fallon, marketing vice president at Brooks. “We believe we could have more.”

Fallon said she expects most of Brooks’ members to join the YMCA.

Brooks will continue to operate its Center for Sports Therapy at the facility, and Native Sun Natural Foods will continue to operate a cafe at the site.

Not everything will remain the same, though. The YMCA will close the saunas and whirlpools at the facility because they are in open corridors and unmonitored, and the pool will be monitored by lifeguards during all operating hours.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal



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