City announces creation of world's largest ice rink at Bronx armory
The ice is right in the Bronx.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday the Kingsbridge Armory, which has been vacant since 1996, will be transformed into the world's largest indoor ice facility.
When the $275 million building is up and running sometime in 2019, it will boast nine indoor regulation size ice rinks, one of which can seat 5,000 spectators.
Bloomberg said the project, which will be paid for by a private developer, would boost theeconomy in the Bronx.
"The construction of the world's largest indoor ice rink facility will create recreational opportunities for millions of visitors and local residents, and most importantly create hundreds of jobs for the local community," he said in a statement.
The rinks will be spread out on two floors and at least two of the rinks will be sled hockey compatible for users with disabilities.
In addition to the skating areas, the Kingsbridge National Ice Center will include locker rooms as well as space for rehabilitation, training and other pre and post skating activities.
Users looking to drive to the Armory, which already underwent $30 million in renovations to fix its roof, won't have to worry about where they can keep their cars, because there will be a 480-spot parking lot.
Former New York Rangers captain Mark Messier and Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes were on hand for the announcement and said they were impressed with the Kingsbridge National Ice Center's services.
"The Kingsbridge National Ice Center . . . represents new possibilities for so many children, including those who dream of one day becoming Olympic champions," Hughes, 27 a Great Neck native, said in a statement.
KNIC Partners LLC, the developers who won the bid to create the rink that the city's Economic Development Corporation put out last year, plans to start a free afterschool program for disadvantage youth where they can learn hockey skills.
"As a New Yorker, I know it will also change this city, providing invaluable educational and athletic opportunity to thousands of young people," Messier said.
NYC & Company, the city's tourism wing, has recently been pushing tourists to check out the outer boroughs on its website. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the facility would be another hot spot that will attract more visitors.
"This project shows the tremendous opportunity the Bronx has to offer," he said in a statement.
Here are some of future Kingsbridge National Ice Center’s features:
-- Nine indoor rinks, one of which will seat 5,000. Also, at least two of the rinks will be used for sled hockey.
-- A 480-car parking lot
-- Training rooms and locker rooms
-- A concession area
-- 50,000 square feet community space