The Ward Downtown YMCA building at 417 S. Jefferson Ave., is under contract. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

The Phelps County Bank in Rolla, based in a four-story former hotel built in 1931, has offered to buy the Ward Downtown YMCA building, constructed in 1913, for $2,050,000. The closing date for the pending sale is May 1.

“It is a good fit for us,” said Dominic DeLuca, chief executive officer of Phelps County Bank. “When we first looked at the building we thought that this is eerie. It’s a very similar vibe and style.”

If the sale comes to fruition, he said, the plan is to keep the historic nature of the building at 417 S. Jefferson Ave.

“Phelps County Bank has an affinity for preserving older buildings and maintaining their historic character,” DeLuca said.

The Phelps County Bank is employee-owned and has several locations in Rolla and a branch in St. James, which is also in Phelps County.

DeLuca said the bank felt it was time to expand.

“As we looked for markets as to where we wanted to go, Springfield was our top choice,” he said. “We looked at what was going on downtown with Hotel Vandivort and the Moxy Hotel and we looked at all the small businesses and that is so us.”

The Moxy Hotel is being built at 430 South Ave.

DeLuca said he also liked the fact there are several employee-owned businesses in Springfield. For example, SRC Holdings Corp. and Penmac Staffing Services, Inc., are employee-owned.

Auction was held online last week

Kathryn Custer, head of the Ozarks Regional YMCA, said Tuesday the offer was made last week during an online auction.

Kathryn Custer, chief executive officer of the Ozarks Regional YMCA. (Photo submitted)

The five-story building was constructed in 1913 at a cost of $100,000, according to information from the Springfield Greene County Library website. It replaced a building destroyed by fire in 1911.

The downtown building recently was closed to the public, although YMCA staff still work there, Custer said. Membership had declined and the Ozarks Regional YMCA no longer needed the space, she said.

It has 62,000 square feet, including an indoor pool and running track. An addition was made in 1971 and an extensive remodeling was completed in 1996.

Open House April 15

Those who want another peek inside the downtown YMCA building will have a chance from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 15. An open house will be held with photos and memorabilia.

The Ward Downtown YMCA building, 417 S. Jefferson Ave., was built in 1913 and most recently remodeled in 1996. (Photo by Shannon Cay)
The Ward Downtown YMCA building was recently closed to the public, although YMCA staff still work there. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

A March story in the Springfield Business Journal says the property was listed for sale at $4.5 million last year and the asking price was $2.5 million last month.

In Springfield, the YMCA also has the Pat Jones facility, 1901 E Republic Rd .

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin