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ANONYMOUS DONATION SAVES DREAM OF RENOVATING 85-YEAR-OLD YMCA

An anonymous "white knight" has stepped up with a $20,000 loan to give a hopeful music promoter 30 days to work on his dream of renovating the 85-year-old YMCA in downtown St. Petersburg.

"We live to fight another day," Thomas Nestor said Thursday. He has a purchase agreement to buy the Mediterranean-style building for $1.4 million, contingent on a $20,000 payment that was due Thursday. He wants to turn the beautiful, yet bedraggled building into a music museum and event venue.

But the landmark is far from saved. Nestor's contract now calls for monthly payments of $8,000, the first due on Dec. 15. He is still hoping to land a bigger loan or donation to hold the building while he secures grants and corporate sponsorships to finance a purchase and renovations.

Meanwhile, St. Petersburg Preservation president Peter Belmont delivered to City Hall on Thursday about 500 postcards signed by residents who are against demolishing the building. He said he knows the current owner is working to find alternatives to selling it to a bank that intends to raze it, but he wants City Council to know the public hopes it is preserved.

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