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Carondelet rec center

Under construction for almost nine months now, the new recplex in Carondelet Park is finely taking shape. If you’re not familiar with the project, its located on the southern edge of Carondelet Park, just off of Highway 55 and Loughborough. This $20 million, 75,000 sq ft complex is set to be open sometime in the summer of 2009. This project began in November 2006 when St. Louis voters approved a 1/8 cent sales tax to pay for this and other projects. The construction of the project is being run by KCI Construction, which is a local St. Louis company. When finished, the building will qualify for Silver LEED Certification and spotlight the following features:

  • Double gymnasium
  • Locker rooms
  • Meeting spaces
  • Ares for seniors and teens
  • Babysitting service
  • Aerobics training facility
  • Weight training facility
  • Elevated indoor running track
  • Indoor pool
  • Outdoor pool (scaled back from 12 ft deep to 5 ft deep due to cost restraints)
  • Lazy river
  • Aquatic play structures and slides

The completed project will be owned by the City of St. Louis. Day to day operations, on the other hand, will be a different matter. I a rather surprising arrangement, the YMCA of St. Louis has been contracted to handle the operations of the facility.  The YMCA currently operates a facility nearby, at 600 Loughborough in the Carondelet Neighborhood. All details are not yet finalized, but as part of the agreement, the YMCA would move its fitness classes and gym to the new facility to open space for other activieies in their existing location. This kind of arrangement is not unknown in other parts of the country, but it is a first for the St. Louis area.

One of th biggest lingering questions is how much membership will cost. Recent estimates place dues near the current YMCA memebership rates of $48 for an adult and $69 for a family.  Residents would likely get a discounted rate over nonresidents. Obviously they are tailoring the operations of the facility towards a family friendly focus by adopting this pricing structure.

With this new facility, along with recent improvements to Carondelet Park itself and Loughborough commons, the far south-side of St. Louis City is looking like an increasingly attractive area for investment opportunities. The surrounding neighborhoods of Holly Hills, Boulevard Heights and Carondelet will likely see continued improvement with the influx of residents and activity caused by these improvements. Keep this area on your radar.

Check the image gallery below to see concept art and construction phots for the project. Check out this Suburban Journal article for more details.

[nggallery id=51]


Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn't representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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18 thoughts on “Carondelet rec center”

  • Phyllis Sandusky

    January 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I live near Carondelet Park and have been watching the progress of the new Recreation Center. My husband and I were wondering what the cost would be for a city resident or family. We were hoping to find that the cost would be less than the YMCA membership. We are a middle class family but are not able to afford the $61 – $69 membership fee per month for a family. I was very dissappointed to see that the estimated membership for a family would be an estimated $48 for a single adult and $69 per family (and I believe that to be a monthly amount). I honestly can’t believe that you think that the majority of the families in Carondelet’s immediate neighborhood can afford over $700 a year per family. We have not had the luxury to be able to afford a YMCA membership. I thought this would be a recreation center geared for city residents with a modest fee. I hope that our Mayor, Aldermen and others will take a good look at all the families in the immediate area who will not be able to take advantage of this wonderful new complex.

    • Matt Kastner

      January 12, 2009 at 4:20 pm

      “I honestly can’t believe that you think that the majority of the families in Carondelet’s immediate neighborhood can afford over $700 a year per family.”

      I sympathize Phillis, but I didn’t set those prices. The City and YMCA are doing that. I know the YMCA sometimes gives membership discounts based on income so its possible they may do the same here. Unfortunately, they will likely only be able to do this for a limited number of people because they need every dime they can get to run the place. With the current City budget there just isn’t enough money to subsidize the complex any more than they already are. The center is supposed to be largely self-sustaining when its complete.

      • Joshua Aasgaard

        September 13, 2009 at 9:33 am

        What it means is that those of us the Carondelet neighborhood need to quit electing the Villas to office. They are clearly only interested in serving the needs of the wealthy. It’s time we elect an alderman who will serve all our needs. Next election vote for anyone but Villa. He clearly doesn’t care. The facility could have been run by current city employees. With the 1% income tax there is more than enough money in the budget to pay for these things. Similarly, the extra funds that go to Forest Park and those services could be created for our area if we had competent democratic representation. Instead, we have back room deals that let the YMCA get away with charging exorbitant rates. What’s worse, the YMCA’s incompetence at Loughborough seems to be being rewarded. I can’t believe an organization which can’t maintain the small Loughborough facility is being allowed an all new facility, and worse, gets a 10% off the top PROFIT from taxpayers. It’s positively disgusting, not mention the fact that TAX money will not be supporting a religious organization. Something’s wrong here. And the most obvious thing we must do is get rid of Villa by electing someone who will serve our interests.

        Of course, Villa’s also the one who put up the BIG BROTHER cameras at the stop lights. TALK ABOUT A HUGE WASTE OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. Now, we get to be under surveillance fifty times a day.

        • Hank Louis

          December 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm

          @ Joshua Aasgaard: You should come back and update your comments. Tell everyone how you joined the Rec Center and that you are there all of the time. You talk about it you facebook it. Be honest you over reacted and were wrong. Ba a man. Admit it.

          The cameras you are referring to at Loughbrough at the Schnucks regulate the traffic lights. When there is no car on the exit from the shopping center the light stays green on Loughbrough. You should ask questions before you go off.

          I moved into the Carondelet neighborhood 9 years ago.I voted for Matt Villa and glad I did. So far the shopping center is a hit and so is the Rec Plex. If you want to see how good the city employees would do look at the old places like Marquett or O’Fallon.

          • Joshua Aasgaard

            January 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm

            Since Slay/Villa’s incompetence continues, it’s not hard to follow up on this. Fascism at the street lights is just one thing that continues and has gotten worse… hundreds more Big Brother cameras have gone up since my last message. At least in Cardondelet Park they have big beautiful yellow signs saying YOU ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE. When we moved here our city cost for water and trash was $82, today we received our $130 bill for the same services. The trash also hasn’t been collected on our block now for two weeks. TWO WEEKS following Christmas.

            I stand by all of my earlier remarks. I still think the Rec Center is a huge boondoggle put on tax payers. I do go there, and I am impressed at how the often things are closed for repairs, how often facilities are not available, and how the number of staff members often is double the number of visitors. Yes, the waste continues, and the YMCA is guaranteed profit no matter what their performance.

            I will vote for anyone but the Villa/Slay factions, even a republican at this point. The only thing that’s changed is how much more expensive it’s gotten for fewer services.

            And I will continue to use the Rec Center which should be run by the Parks/Forestry department. I might as well use what my tax dollars are wasted on.

  • Verna Sutherland

    April 6, 2009 at 9:41 am

    unfortunately, the families that would benefit most from this new recreation center will be shut-out if the prices are to remain as posted. This is yet another way st. louis polarizes it’s residents. if this rec center is in a city park, it should be free for all. st. louisans are paying for this center but most st. louisans will be unable to afford to use the center their taxes built. doesn’t make much sense to me. these comment are not directed at you, matt.
    is there any new information available on the rec center? i have been combing the internet and driving by the property and have not been able to find out anything new.

    • Matt Kastner

      April 6, 2009 at 11:07 am

      I haven’t heard anything new lately. While I wish the rec-center could be free for all, the problem is a matter of economy. This kind of public/private partnership is pretty typical these days. Over the long-term constructing the building is just a part of the cost. I can’t imagine how much it will cost to operate this thing. Without the funds from memberships it would fail. I am a little surprised the projected membership prices are so high, but I do not view this as a polarizing force. This will be an asset to the far-South-Side area, shortcomings and all.

  • Michelle

    May 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I agree with Phyllis…I was hoping for a more cost effective alternative to the YMCA. Maybe they should have made it a more modest build and scaled it towards the neighboorhood families.

  • kirk douglas

    May 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

    will they have boxing?

  • Patricia Adams

    May 13, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    First, thanks for an informative website. The city of St. Louis does not want you to know anything about the new Rec Center.
    Like everyone else I am concerned with cost but I am also concerned with unaccompanied minors, over crowding and parking. I live on Holly Hills just over I-55 and this is a perfect distance for me not to have excuses to exercise.
    I have been on my health insurance web site looking at discounts (30-50%) that certain gyms give UHC members. I am considering CURVES but then the family cannot go and it is only a basic gym. I have nominated the YMCA now let’s see if they will participate.
    Please keep us updated!!!

  • Zack V

    June 12, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I am a recent graduate of Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in recreation. I was wondering when the Rec Plex will start hiring staff, Or where I can find an application for employment? If you could answer these two questions for me It would be greatly appriciated.

    Zack V

  • Matt Kastner

    June 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I don’t have anything to do with the operation of the facility. I just posted about the project on my blog. If you are interested in a job there, I would start by getting in touch with the YMCA on Loughborough. They will be managing the facility.

  • Carondelet Rec Center to open in November amongst controversy | Threshold Investment Properties

    September 11, 2009 at 2:41 pm

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  • Toni

    November 13, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I think that the monthly membership should be less but they do have to charge something. If is was free for all it would be trashed by next year. Just like everything else in south city. Lets face it we don’t live in “burbs” and south city is no where near ready for a free rec center. Is there even a free rec center anywhere in st. louis? If you say the rec center is a bad idea or too expensive, don’t go there. I think it’s great for our city and if you really think about it, $69 a month for a family to belong to a recreational center is NOT that much. I pay more for a tanning package!

    • Anonymous

      November 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm

      @Toni: Congratulations that you have so much disposable income that you can afford to spend hundreds of dollars a year tanning and can still afford to join the center. That’s great for you. Many of us are not quite so well off.

      While it would be great if it could be free without getting trashed by people that have no consideration for others, I understand the requirement of charging something for people to use it. I would love to be able to use the facility since my taxes helped pay for it but the costs are simply out of reach for all but the wealthiest local residents and I believe that was intentional. I also wonder if this arrangement is a violation of the separation of church and state.

      I shouldn’t have to submit an application for a “scholarship” to be able to afford it. That suggests that it’s intended for wealthy people but they’re willing to allow a certain number of poor people to join just so they look less elitist. I, for one, feel misled and scammed.

  • KG

    November 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    I agree with Toni. Free = “not mine, I don’t care” mentality. Quite frankly – people need to get over the “FREE” mindset. It’s just not reality. The sooner people realize that, the better off things will be. My family is able to enjoy the center because we decide to find extra work to earn the $$$ to pay for the privilege. I’m sorry some cannot afford the extra… but it is just that, an extra… not a “right”.
    Tax dollars to fund the building….yes, that is politics at it’s best and we can’t solve that here. But to think it should be a “FREE” service is ludicrous.
    I’m thankful there is now a city rec center available so we can stop driving to the county to enjoy this type of “extra”.

  • Steve King

    November 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Why would anyone want to go there. When Richmond heights has a Rec plex that only charges 300 dollars a YEAR for a resident and 525.00 a YEAR for a non resident! But of coarse its not run by the YMCA! Our Tax dollars at work!

    • Steve King

      November 21, 2009 at 10:01 am

      That is 525 for a non resident family rate and 345 per individual. So that would be 43 dollars a month for a family and 28.75 for a individual per month!!! We are in a recession right?


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