OSWEGO — City officials this week approved the sale of the former Oswego YMCA pool building to be replaced with townhouse apartments.
The purchase gives local developer Anthony Pauldine full ownership of the remnants of the old Y headquarters complex, located at 249 W. First St. The site has sat vacant since late 2015 when structural issues affecting the northern exterior walls caused city building inspectors to deem it unsafe for occupancy. The YMCA’s day-to-day operations were moved next door to its current location in the YMCA Armory. Pauldine purchased the three-story building in February 2018 and this week added its adjoining pool.
He plans to turn his new 11,000 square feet into a “mixed-use” building, but with no pool.
YMCA Board President Derrick Falcetti said although they have moved on from the pool, the organization remains committed to the community.
“Making this decision wasn’t easy but I want our members, supporters and community to know that the Oswego YMCA is here to stay,” he said.
The sale will bring to a de facto end to the YMCA’s years-long capital fundraising campaign designed to connect the pool with the Armory building.
The YMCA Board of Directors announced late last year in a member newsletter that the plans to construct the corridor would not continue, citing financial hardship.
“The challenges presented by COVID-19 have redirected our purpose and we want to be transparent with our decision making,” YMCA officials said in the letter.
The decision to sell the pool did not come lightly for the YMCA board, officials said. According to Vice President Bradley Parcella, several months of deliberation and heartbreak were part of the unanticipated costs associated with parting ways with the aquatic activity center.
“We would love to have an on-site pool at the Oswego YMCA,” Parcella said. “However, with all of the costs associated with fixing up the pool as well as having the appropriate staff to operate the pool. We did not feel it would be fiscally responsible to continue with the pool project.”
The pool connector project was estimated to cost $750,000, according to YMCA adminstrators, but when an additional $150,000 to fix electrical issues was added, the effort was no longer feasible.
“It would have been an additional cost to the overall project which was not funding we had,” YMCA Executive Kerrie Webb said.
The YMCA might be left pool-less now at their location, but officials are not giving up hope to continue their aquatic services. Webb said that while they are currently not looking for pool locations, in the future that would be an organizational priority when the time is right.
“As things get more in control and the vaccine becomes more readily available and the atmosphere changes and it seems like a safe idea, then we would start looking for those partnerships,” Webb said.
For several months, Pauldine said that the YMCA and his company, Camelot Lodge LLC, have been in negotiations for the $40,000 acquisition of the pool house so the renovation of the dilapidated building can continue.
With the purchase of the pool housing facility, the mixed-use facility will ultimately spell the end of the pool and when the purchase is finalized they will begin the remodeling. Pauldine said the pool house would be replaced with six two-story “townhouse style” apartments.
“The shell of the building has no functionality as a pool and we are not going to operate it as a pool,” Pauldine said. “We will fill in the pool then build internally but we haven't closed on the property.”
Pauldine said that once the purchase is finalized, the $400,000 to $600,000 project is being designed by Syracuse based architects Crawford and Stearns.
Pauldine said he has worked with Crawford and Stearns on several of his projects throughout the community.
“They are renowned throughout the state for historic preservation. We utilized their services on the Cahill Building and we used them on the existing building we are renovating now,” Pauldine said.
Pauldine is hopeful that the project will resume in early spring.
“We wish them the very best, we think it's the best usage for the building, and they're great neighbors,” Pauldine said. “We would like to continue our friendly relationship and hopefully this is the best all around for all parties.”