Waukesha YMCA looks to expand reach with new purchase
Deal for three new locations will close Oct. 15

By John Holman - Special to The Freeman

Oct. 2, 2014

WAUKESHA — The YMCA of Central Waukesha County will close on its purchase of three branches from the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee on Oct. 15, thanks to the approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley on Tuesday.

The Milwaukee YMCA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June to sell to the Waukesha YMCA its Tri-County YMCA in Menomonee Falls, West Suburban YMCA in Wauwatosa and Southwest YMCA in Greenfield for $7 million and up to an additional $1 million, based on profits through 2016. The revenue will be paid toward the Milwaukee YMCA’s $29 million debt.

Kelley also authorized the Milwaukee YMCA to sell to the Kettle Moraine YMCA of West Bend its Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA of Port Washington for $2 million, for the same purpose.

The YMCA at Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc was not involved in the transaction.

Julie Tolan, president and CEO of the Milwaukee YMCA, testified Tuesday that the sale was necessary because the institution’s earnings have steadily declined over the past two years, rendering the organization unable to provide raises to its employees or maintain its facilities.

Tolan said the four locations in question would require $8 million in maintenance, and this sale would save the Milwaukee branch about $2.2 million in overhead costs. As for the deferred maintenance, that falls to the Waukesha and Kettle Moraine branches.

Chris Becker, CEO of the Waukesha YMCA, said Waukesha and Mukwonago customers will not see any changes to their current memberships, except that they will have access to the newly acquired branches.

“This purchase provides us as a YMCA to not only save those three facilities, but also to enhance operations and improve service to the communities these Ys serve,” Becker said.

He added that the Waukesha branch will be able to save money by streamlining administrative and operational costs, and will also benefit from stronger group purchasing power.

Becker said he anticipates equipment upgrades and some improvements to the new facilities by the end of the year, with more extensive projects, like upgraded parking and mechanical equipment, coming in 2015. He also said the Waukesha YMCA is currently assessing its new branches to establish its priorities, and he is pleased to be able to strengthen the Y on a regional level.