YMCA Eyeing A Southie Location

The proposed location would bring family-friendly fitness to Southie.

With the Whitey Bulger trial taking center stage here in Boston, old images and details of Southie’s past have come to light. Countless stories about Southie’s gentrification have been written over the years, like the details of how the old bar Triple O’s where Bulger allegedly committed crimes is now a sushi place, or his love of walking around Castle Island which is now flooded with children and people doing yoga on paddleboards. Even Good Will Hunting fans wouldn’t recognize Southie. Are there still some yards filled with junk posing as homes? Yes. Are they next to a multi-million dollar condo projects? Yes. And if you think about it, Good Will Hunting came out just a few years after Bulger went on the lam. How do you like them apples?

One part of Southie that hasn’t seen much development is the area connecting the Fort Point neighborhood to Southie off of Summer Street before it changes to L Street, between East 1st and East 3rd. The area is ripe for development and developers are taking notice. There are empty warehouses, and a huge empty Edison power plant building. Across the street is the only real development as of late, an old brick building that from the outside looks a bit scary but on the inside houses one of the hippest hair salons in town, a gorgeous makeup shop, and a Pilates studio. Across the street is the classic Southie bar Murphy’s Law.

The YMCA is eyeing that corner as a potential new location. We think anytime a health and fitness business wants to open somewhere and help revitalize a neighborhood is a good thing, but some commenters that are calling for the funds to be used to renovate the Curly Community Center (CCC), and they do have a point. The Center, also known as the L Street Bath House could use a renovation. This writer was a former member, loved it, and found it to be the best fitness deal in town. Fantastic classes (including the best kickboxing class we’ve ever taken), a spin room overlooking the water, and a private beach all make the CCC a fantastic deal. The CCC is on the water near Carson Beach and the YMCA would be closer to Fort Point. With more and more people moving to Fort Point and the Seaport area, it seems like the YMCA’s main competition would the Boston Athletic Club.

The YMCA put out this notice:

Would you like to see a brand new YMCA come to our neighborhood? The potential location will be at East First Street (across from the Old Edison power plant at Summer and East First). The Y will have programs for everyone from kids to seniors and free child care while you work-out! The cost will be $40 for a monthly family membership.

A community meeting will be held on Thursday, June 27th at 5:30 p.m. at 621 East First Street to discuss the plans. Come let them know your thoughts!

Here is the proposed location:

The YMCA proposed location is on the left. The right is the long-closed, old Edison power plant. Photo via Google Maps.

The YMCA proposed location is on the left. The right is the long-closed, old Edison power plant. Photo via Google Maps.

Proposed site on the right. Left: Murphy's Law

Proposed site on the right. Left: Murphy’s Law

Southie/Fort Point/Seaport residents: What do you think? Would you like to see a YMCA come to the neighborhood?