The colossal Kingsbridge Armory, a turreted fortress in the Bronx that has sat vacant since 1996, will be transformed into what city officials are calling the world's largest indoor ice center. The announcement by Mayor Bloomberg comes as no surprise, as the ice center plan won the support of local officials last year, as well as that of icy celebrities like Olympic figure skater Sarah Hughes and pro hockey player Mark Messier. To be called the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, aka KNIC, the armory will host nine year-round ice rinks, including one that can seat 5,000, plus 50,000-square-feet of community space.
The project will now start the public and environmental review process, and if all goes as planned, a groundbreaking will take place in late 2014. The first phase of the development?five ice rinks and the community space?will be complete and operational by September 2018. The second phase will take an additional year. The developer, KNIC Partners, LLC, founded by Kevin Parker, has privately invested $275 million into the project. It should created 260 permanent jobs and 890 construction jobs.
Now, the fun stuff: what this 750,000-square-foot ice center will have. All nine rinks will be indoor regulation size, and useable for national and international hockey tournaments, figure and speed skating competitions, and ice shows. Five rinks will be on the main floor, and four will be on two elevated platforms 40 feet above the main level. At least two of the rinks will be usable for sled-hockey for people with disabilities. The center more than doubles the number of indoor ice rinks in NYC; there are only seven and none are located in the Bronx.
In addition to the rinks, there will be dressing rooms, lockers, retail space for sports goods, parking for 480 cars, and a wellness center with off-ice training fitness, rehabilitation, sports therapy programs. One of the community programs will be run by a KNIC foundation that will host free after-school hockey and skating, as well as academic tutoring.
· Mayor Bloomberg Announces Plans to Transform Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx into World's Largest Indoor Ice Facility [nyc.gov]
· Kingsbridge Armory coverage [Curbed]
· Kingsbridge National Ice Center [Facebook page]