Dr. Phillips Charities today announced approval of a key component to the 202-acre Packing District near the intersection of Princeton Street and John Young Parkway.
The Dr. Phillips Charities board voted to fund $8.9 million to the YMCA of Central Florida to build and equip a new YMCA Family Center for the College Park area. The gift covers nearly 75 percent of the estimated $12.1 million project cost, and the Y has kicked off a capital campaign to cover the balance.
"The YMCA will need to do some fundraising," Dr. Phillips CEO Ken Robinson said. "We thought it was important that the College Park community contribute, as well."
Located at the planned roundabout at Princeton Street and Texas Avenue on the north end of Orlando's newest regional park, the 2-story Y will plan to have 24,500 square feet and could expand up to 40,000 square feet in the future. The site, known as the Keybank parcel, was one of two parcels recently added to The Packing District PD by the charitable organization.
"Dr. Phillips Charities has long been a proud supporter of the YMCA here in Central Florida," Robinson said. "So, as we transform and preserve this special place in Orlando's history, it's only natural that we seek to collaborate again to further our vision of building community, health and wellness within The Packing District."
In a press release, Dan Wilcox, President and CEO of the YMCA of Central Florida, thanked the charity for the donation. "We are truly grateful for their longstanding support and generosity which will enable us to build a brighter future together in healthy living, youth development and social responsibility within this vibrant, new district."
The preliminary design calls for activity rooms for exercise and spin classes. The center will offer personal training and wellness classes tailored to meet the needs of all ages and abilities. There are two swimming pools, including a kids' pool with a water slide. There's also a rooftop yoga garden overlooking the lake in the new park.
"We thought that would be a beautiful spot to have morning or afternoon yoga," Robinson said.
The design team from RLF Architects was directed to incorporate the broader Packing District themes by utilizing materials commonly found in industrial buildings.
This will be the 23rd location for the Central Florida association, is projected to break ground in late 2019 and be operational by early 2021.
"We look forward to serving and improving the lives of our neighbors in the College Park, Downtown Orlando and surrounding areas for generations to come at our newest YMCA Family Center," Wilcox added.
Plans for The Packing District have continued to unfold within the last year. Late last year, Dr. Phillips Charities announced its gift of more than 100 acres of land adjacent to the District to the City of Orlando to make way for a regional park that would serve as a hub for wellness programs and provide a site for amenities, including the new Orlando Tennis Center, bike trails, running trails and more.
"The park is in permitting now, and hopefully work will begin early next year," Robinson said.
The City of Orlando is currently seeking a design-build contractor for the adjacent tennis center, which will have 16 full-size, lighted tennis courts, a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse with locker rooms and shade cabanas with water misting systems. The tennis center should be open in 2020.
Dr. Phillips is also planning to introduce a townhouse community on the Keybank parcel, Robinson said. "We will have an announcement soon about the residential component," he said. "We think it's important that there be permanent housing that becomes stewards of the park."