Staff reporter Diane Haithman’s terrific cover story this week on the renaissance of the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA touches on several key elements of the area’s revival.
There’s the heavy involvement by businesses that are helping to revamp the Y as well as downtown itself. There’s the huge influx of people who now call downtown home (70,000 today compared to less than 10,000 in 2000). And there’s the area’s need for a communal hub — a place where residents and workers can come together over elliptical machines, yoga mats and day care.
Another downtown bastion of fitness is taking note. The Los Angeles Athletic Club, founded in 1880 as a “gentlemen’s club,” is still a private club. It doesn’t offer downtown-based companies subsidized memberships, like the Y does.
But the LAAC is adapting to changing times and expectations. It recently completed a $10 million renovation that included the addition of a barber shop, a nail salon, new restaurants and meeting rooms. It also created Wave, a club-within-a-club for “women, female-identifying or gender nonconforming” members that offers panel discussions and private workspaces.
LAAC Assistant General Manager Cory Hathaway said the club will likely focus on families next. “That seems to be the next phase for downtown’s development,” he said. “If (families) are living in a loft, with not as much space and amenities, a club like this is a good resource, especially a swimming pool to learn how to swim.”
Hathaway said he also sees a “ripple effect” among former downtown residents with children who may have moved to nearby neighborhoods like Silver Lake and Atwater Village but still come downtown for restaurants and other attractions, including the Athletic Club.
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Last week’s item about the Music Center misspelled the name of an incoming restaurant. It should have been listed as Abernethy’s.
Diane Haithman contributed to this column.