I’ve been watching Sara’s YMCA rise from my office’s fifth-floor windows, so it was a treat to get a sneak peek at what the area’s newest amenity will look like when it opens Saturday.
Senior Membership Director Brian Vest says he hopes it becomes the “student union of Ballantyne Corporate Park” and provides boutique fitness-style options at YMCA prices. “We have all the same great instructors — they also teach at the Y,” Vest says.
Here’s what you need to know:
Address: 15940 Brixham Hill Ave, Charlotte
Grand opening: Ceremony will be 10 a.m. Saturday and gym opens at noon.
Size: 24,000 square feet, about 2.5 times bigger than Ballantyne Village YMCA location, which is now officially closed.
Adults only: You must be at least 16 or older for access. (No child care on site either.) Corporate memberships are available.
Extras: Starbucks and a café with sandwiches, salads, etc., Wi-Fi enabled fitness equipment, Pilates Reformer studio, yoga studio with infrared technology for hot yoga, fitness balcony and outdoor workout equipment (think good for pull-ups and body weight exercises). Towel service is available for $8 a month. Carolinas HealthCare System also will have a satellite office here for those of you who work out too hard and need rehab.
Let’s take a look around:
The café and Starbucks, which will be open to the public, were still being installed when I visited earlier this week. A sole proprietor, who also is a Smoothie King franchisee, will run the café. The community room in the front is full of tables, seating and YMCA artwork and will be available for rentals.
The Sonic Automotive Wellness Center on the main floor is filled with weights and other exercise equipment. (Sonic is a Ballantyne tenant.)
Bathrooms/locker rooms are filled with soothing paint colors and tile work. You can definitely feel the boutique fitness vibe here.
Plus, the lockers are full-size — no need to cram your expensive business suit into one of those tiny cubbies.
The Mind & Body Studio is where most yoga and Pilates classes will be held. The floor is made of special soft material to help your wrists. It also features infrared technology for a true hot yoga experience. (The room also is vented, so it can quickly be returned to normal temperatures for the next class.)
The room also will be used as a “snooze room” at some points in the afternoon if you just want to take a nap and get out of the office.
The large group exercise studio is where classes such as athletic conditioning will take place. There are stall walls for body weight exercises such as pull-ups. Plus, there are garage doors that open to what looks like a little playground with monkey bars and ropes. This area can be incorporated into group exercise classes or used by individuals.
Upstairs you’ll find dozens of cardio machines overlooking the lower level. If you hate running on the treadmill, you should give the newest model of Matrix machines a try. They feature a GoPro-style view on a television screen that lets you pick a course and hear sound effects — maybe a mountain stream is your speed.
The small group exercise room with TRX training and Pilates Reformer machines are available for an extra cost. There’s also a balcony that opens up from an exercise area where you’ll find rowers, mats for abs, etc. Look for sunrise yoga classes here, though usually it will be available to all members.
There will be about twice as many group exercise classes as the Ballantyne Village site offered. Most of them are clustered around lunchtime hours and after work. My one complaint is there are only a couple of times a week classes are held during the 4 p.m. hour. (I can’t be the only one with an 8-4 schedule, right?)
Parking is also tight in this area already, so I am interested to see how that plays out. My desire to have a short walk into my building is probably outweighed by my desire to walk across the parking lot and get a tall hot chocolate from Starbucks though.