Blackbird Investments has added a new twist to the tenant amenity packages that are being offered to apartment dwellers by variety of landlords, deciding to avoid pocket gyms in its developments in favor of memberships to the big gym experiences of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines.

Blackbird has struck a first-of-its-kind agreement with the Y to provide individual and family memberships as part of its Residence by Blackbird division. For now, Blackbird is leasing at the Clemens and Wilkins buildings, two properties it renovated in downtown Des Moines. However, plans are afoot for a luxury high-rise at 701 Walnut St., next door to Wilkins, and a historic rehab and apartment conversion at Historic Fort Des Moines.

"Rather than compete with a state-of-the-art, brand new workout facility conveniently located downtown Des Moines, we chose to partner with the Wellmark YMCA," Blackbird partner TJ Jacobs said in a statement. When tenants sign a lease, the individual or family membership is automatically included as a tenant benefit with no additional cost.

"By considering potential partnerships that can be made with our neighbors downtown, such as the YMCA, we then have new space to creatively use for our tenants that otherwise would have been under-utilized," Jacobs said.

Blackbird has negotiated another pilot program with Y under which it will provide memberships as an employee benefit.

The YMCA Corporate Wellness program goes beyond offering discounted memberships to address the health and fitness needs of all employees. The package includes individual wellness consultations for all employees, company sited Lunch 'n' Learns by a personal trainer or nutritionist, discounts on personal training sessions, and discounts on premium fitness classes, among other benefits.

"The Y is always looking for new, innovative ways to incorporate wellness into people's lives," Dave Schwartz, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, said in a statement. "By partnering with employers to offer the benefit of Y membership to all employees, we are fulfilling our mission of building a stronger, healthier, more vibrant community."

Schwartz said the Y wants the pilot program to draw the attention of other employers and landlords.

"Our intention is to continue working to refine the programs, then make them available to other employers and residential complexes throughout Central Iowa," he said.