Gateway YWCA

The Gateway YWCA said in May that it was closing its popular aquatic center. 

The Gateway YWCA property near downtown Winston-Salem has sold for $3.15 million to a Charlotte-area megachurch that has been holding services there since April 2017.

A Forsyth County Register of Deeds filing Friday shows the buyer being EC Winston LLC, an affiliate of Elevation Church in Matthews.

The seller is listed as Young Women's Christian Association of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. The property at 1300 S. Main St. consists of the YWCA building and 8.26 acres. 

The groups said the purchase "will allow the YWCA to expand its membership program and medical partnerships as a long-term tenant in the building."

The church, which holds weekly 9 and 11 a.m. services at the YWCA, will renovate the building to provide permanent spaces for worship and children’s ministries and an expanded fitness area for the YWCA.

The YWCA will maintain its regular hours during renovations that are projected to begin shortly and take about a year to complete.

“We’re looking forward to establishing a permanent presence from which we can continue to reach and serve more people in Winston-Salem," said Greg Basch, campus pastor for Elevation Winston-Salem. 

The Gateway YWCA had about 4,500 members as of early June.

When the Gateway YWCA opened in 2007, it featured the largest indoor aquatic center in the county. It was planned to be one of the anchors in a neighborhood revitalization plan to include shops, apartments, restaurants and businesses.

In late May, the YWCA announced it was permanently closing the aquatic center. It is not clear whether the closing of the aquatics center contributed to the sale of the property.

Michelle Cook, president of the YWCA's board of directors, said the decision to sell the building "enables the organization to focus strategically on its mission programs and services, rather than operating a building that is larger than it needs and a major drain on its resources."

YWCA officials said the closure of the aquatic center was a financial inevitability after the pool area flooded in an August storm, causing $600,000 worth of damage.

The aquatic center included a 223,000-gallon competition pool, a 64,400-gallon warm water pool and a 2,300-gallon hot tub and spa. It cost $362,000 each year to operate, not including unexpected maintenance and repairs.

The YWCA said it could not find a partner to help foot the repair bill — only $190,000 of which was covered by insurance.

"We will offer a more robust fitness program for our members and continue the Gateway to Success program with Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health,” said Christy Respess, president and chief executive of the YWCA.

In November 2015, an agreement went into effect that allows local YWCA members to use the facilities of all of the branches within the YMCA of Northwest N.C. Association.

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