Staff at Hamilton's YMCA are in turmoil after the city council's decision to sell its premises, effectively ending a 23-year partnership.

A YMCA staff member learned of this week's decision to put the building up for sale through a Hamilton city councillor's Facebook page.

YMCA Hamilton manager Shamila Unka said staff were "shell-shocked and disappointed" at how they found out. It had created uncertainty among the 82 full-time, part-time and casual staff who feared for their jobs. "Until we get anything official, I've said it is business as usual," Ms Unka said.

YMCA chief executive Peter Fergusson was gobsmacked and said the not-for-profit organisation had been working on a proposal to put to the city council but the latest moved halved the number of options it could put forward.

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He said staff desperately wanted to know the time frame for selling the building and what the YMCA planned to do - all things he could not answer until he received more information from the council.

As of last night, he had received a one-line email informing him the complex was to be sold and a meeting had been planned for next week.

The YMCA's three titles - the carpark, the YMCA and Kohanga Reo early childhood centre - have a combined value of about $3 million and will be put on the open market but only sold for recreational and related purposes.

The proceeds will go towards paying off the city's $400 million-plus debt. The YMCA's lease on the building ends next year and the council has also cut its $90,000 annual operating grant.

Mr Fergusson said the sale would affect the community. The early childhood centre and after-school care programmes provided some revenue which enabled the YMCA to hire out the stadium and offer discounted rates to community groups for the gym.

Jade Strother, chairwoman of Toku Mapihi Maurea Kohanga Reo, which also rents one of the facilities to be sold, said she wrote to the council in March asking to be given the first option of buying the fully equipped childcare centre. She was concerned there would be nowhere for their 22 children to go if a sale happened quickly. There was also a waiting list of children.

Hamilton City Council events and economic development general manager Sean Murray said the council was hopeful the YMCA would be among the parties keen to express interest in buying the facility. He planned to provide more details of the sale process next week.

Waikato Kindergarten Association has already expressed interest in purchasing the site.

FOR SALE
YMCA: $2m
Carpark site: $500,000
Kohanga Reo: $500,000
Estimated values