The board of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities has approved a plan to acquire several floors in the Gaviidae Common building at Sixth Street and the Nicollet Mall for a new downtown headquarters, flagship health center and community service activities.

The YMCA will vacate about 117,000 square feet it owns several blocks away in the LaSalle Plaza building to move to about 105,000 square feet in Gaviidae, in the center of downtown.

"We are thrilled to have purchased a portion of Gaviidae to build a contemporary, collaborative and convening space to serve our growing community," YMCA CEO Glen Gunderson said Thursday. "… A Nicollet Mall location will increase our prominence and emphasize our social services and increase our ability to convene and work with partners. We realized this would be a home run."

The YMCA will consolidate about 300 people on three floors of Gaviidae, including 25 headquarters personnel, about 125 from an administrative and training center on E. Hennepin Avenue and about 150 full- and part-time Downtown YMCA branch employees.

The new Downtown Y will have a pool and also a street-level office focused on its social enterprises and innovative community collaborations.

The YMCA also bought additional space on two levels once occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue. That space already has been has been sold to United Properties Group for redevelopment as part of a three-party transaction that closed Thursday.

The net cost, after the resale to United Properties, to acquire and refurbish the new YMCA space for occupancy in the second quarter of 2018 will be around $15 million.

The current YMCA location in LaSalle Plaza will be sold. It is valued at about $10 million by the Hennepin County assessor's office.

Gunderson said of the new site: "… we look forward to working together with our partners to offer programming and services to address the opportunity gap, community health, homelessness, job readiness, newcomer support and much more."

The YMCA also will prepare the Gaviidae rooftop for outdoor classes, meetings and community convocations during good-weather months.

The YMCA operates more than 22 Twin Cities-area fitness branches and 17 camps. It also provides discounted memberships to low-income families and individuals, and subsidized day care at 90-plus locations, as well as programs for disadvantaged youth and families.