In downtown St. Paul, YMCA plans new two-level facility at Osborn 370

18 Mar 2021


Minnesota’s first YMCA opened in downtown St. Paul in 1856, two years before it became a state.

The evolution of the “Young Men’s Christian Association” has been the stuff of catchy disco music, shifting generational needs and new horizons. Built in the 1980s, a multi-level YMCA in the former Galtier Plaza in Lowertown closed last year, victim to pandemic-era lockdowns and changing demand in a downtown that no longer commands the same level of buzzy pedestrian activity it did 40 years ago.

That’s not to say the nonprofit has abandoned St. Paul.

In fact, just the opposite, said Glen Gunderson, president and chief executive officer of the organization now known as the YMCA of the North. He foresees the next evolution of the Y to take root in the Osborn 370 building at Fifth and Cedar streets. It will be at once smaller, located closer to downtown’s center of gravity and more mission-driven.

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