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NYguy Aug 8, 2012 11:17 PM

NEW YORK | Kingsbridge National Ice Center
After Related's failure to get approval to turn the Bronx's Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall , other ideas have popped up. The latest proposal is for a 9 rink skating center.

NYguy Aug 8, 2012 11:24 PM

How Exactly Do You Cram Nine Ice Rinks Into a 95-Year-Old Armory, Even One as Big as Kingsbridge?


A consortium led by Mark Messier wants to transform the Kingsbridge Armory into a new ice sport complex called the Kinsbridge National Ice Center.

by Matt Chaban
August 8, 2012


Easy—just stack them on top of each other.

When Mark Messier first announced his intentions to build a new skating complex inside the Kingsbridge Armory, it sounded crazy. This is the Bronx, after all. When it was revealed there would be eight rinks in total, it sounded insane. But the Kingsbridge National Ice Center recently launched its social media campaign—what bid for a public project would be complete without one?—and on the project’s Facebook page are a number of models that show exactly how Mr. Messier and his team intend to pull off this wild engineering feat.

At the heart of the complex will be a main rink with 5,000 seats and Madison Square Garden-sized ceilings that go clear up to the the massive buildings roof. On either side of center ice will be four more, stacked two on top of each other. All of the rinks will be NHL or Olympics regulation size. There will also be some retail concessions, which are tentatively to be filled by local businesses, as well as 30,000 square feet of community space. The whole effort underscores just how massive the armory is in the first place.

The armory today, long vacant.

The plan calls for nine arenas to be built inside the massive former military structure.

A cutaway shows the main rink in the middle of the building, which has seating for up to 5,000 spectators

Check out those rafters—sure is nicer than MSG.

Inside the empty armory

Crawford Aug 11, 2012 12:31 AM

I really hope this proposal is selected.

The shopping mall proposal was decent, but this would be very unique, and would really redefine the area.

jd3189 Aug 11, 2012 12:58 AM

If NYC ever wins a bid for the Olympics, this could be one of the venues. In fact, there's a lot of areas already built that can be used as venues.

NYguy Aug 12, 2012 12:33 AM

I think this would be great for the Bronx. So much of the rest of the City gets "new things". Despite its size, the Bronx is often as forgotten about as Staten Island.
But this is not the Bronx of a few decades ago.

Video Link

Video Link

A little history on the Armory and the battle over the proposed mall...

Video Link

Video Link

And idea for an urban market...

Video Link

NYguy Aug 16, 2012 2:40 PM

The City expects similar proposals for another huge armory, this on in Brooklyn...
City Asks Developers to Transform Crown Heights' Huge Bedford Armory

August 15, 2012
By Sonja Sharp


After years of dreams, schemes and sweat, a plan to develop 50,000 square feet of Crown Heights' Bedford-Atlantic Armory finally went to potential developers Wednesday. Possible uses already envisioned include a climbing wall, a concert venue or an ice-skating rink.

"It's a long road ahead, but we're very excited to get to this point," said Seth Diamond, commissioner of city's homeless services department. "Today is really the beginning of the process."

A portion of the century-old building, whose imposing red brick turrets jut up from the intersection of Atlantic and Bedford avenues like the spires of a medieval castle, has long served as an assessment center for the department. Hundreds sleep there each night, while the enormous drill hall is used for storage. City officials and community advocates yearn to see that storage space opened up to the community, much like the Eighth Avenue Armory in neighboring Park Slope.

Wednesday's request for proposals was put out jointly by the New York Economic City Development Corporation and the DHS. "It’s a state and a national landmark, and it’s really an historic opportunity to do something with a very important building," Diamond said. "The point right now is to see what people might be able to do, what their dreams are for the space."

In June, Markowitz released a report full of potential uses for the nearby Bedford-Union armory, ranging from a rock-climbing gym to a theater. Proponents hope that with its nearly 100-foot-tall ceilings and prime location at the intersection of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Bedford-Atlantic armory will inspire equally creative uses. The city will host a site visit for potential developers on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The submission deadline is Oct. 19.

NYguy Aug 24, 2012 11:31 AM

Bronx Borough President Diaz urges city to approve plan to turn Kingsbridge Armory into ice sports center
Mark Messier and Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes join proposal

August 24, 2012
By Tanyanika Samuels


Hailing it as a major opportunity for Bronx youth, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. called on the city to approve a proposal to turn the Kingsbridge Armory into a state-of-the-art ice sports center. Diaz was flanked by New York Rangers legend Mark Messier and Olympic figure skater Sarah Hughes outside the armory on Thursday. “We are urging the Economic Development Council and the Bloomberg Administration to hear the Bronx out, to hear our voices,” Diaz said. “We stand in unison to say ‘Please select (this) proposal so we can redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory as soon as possible.’”

The Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC) would include nine hockey rinks, a 5,000-seat arena, 50,000-square-foot community space that would be open to area groups, and an education program for local youth. The project would bring an estimated 1,800 construction jobs and create about 200 permanent jobs that will pay a living wage, borough officials said.

“This development will allow our borough to realize the potential of the Kingsbridge Armory and to do so in a way that will offer the people of the Bronx a chance to earn a decent living,” Diaz said. “(The ice sports center) will open a new world of possibilities for the future generations of young people in the Bronx,” Messier said. “This project is not just about building rinks, it’s about creating opportunities for the kids in the Bronx.”

The ice sports center is one of two final proposals for the long-vacant fortress on W. Kingsbridge Road. The West Village firm Youngwoo & Associates proffered a project called “Mercado Mirabo” that would include a 4D movie complex and a town square-style market for local restaurants and businesses. In a statement, company officials said they were “very surprised and obviously disappointed” by the borough president’s endorsement and defended their plan as the option that would “offer the most significant benefits to the surrounding community and all the residents of The Bronx.”

A decision by the city could come as early as next month.

Busy Bee Aug 26, 2012 12:09 AM

The only problem I have with this proposal is that it won't have the seating capacity to host a televised event like a figure skating nationals, or a comparable event. If they could design and engineer the rink structures to maximize seating, maybe up to 9 or 10,000, and make the rink size and position as flexible as possible they maybe could host high profile skating events in the Bronx. That really would be cool to have televised ice shows coming from the Bronx. I'm also a bit disappointed no one proposed a velodrome. Oh well, I hope this succeeds and it's top notch quality. That first rendering looks amazing, like Richard Meier is involved or something.

Crawford Aug 26, 2012 3:32 PM


Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5810747)
The only problem I have with this proposal is that it won't have the seating capacity to host a televised event like a figure skating nationals, or a comparable event. If they could design and engineer the rink structures to maximize seating, maybe up to 9 or 10,000, and make the rink size and position as flexible as possible they maybe could host high profile skating events in the Bronx. That really would be cool to have televised ice shows coming from the Bronx.

It would be cool, but there's no need. There are already five arenas in the area that can host professional ice events (Garden, Barclays, Nassau, Izod, Prudential). The reason this proposal makes so much sense is because there aren't enough rinks in the NYC area. People living in Manhattan have to do league matches at 3 AM in Chelsea Piers, or drive 40 miles out to somewhere in Jersey.

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5810747)
I'm also a bit disappointed no one proposed a velodrome. Oh well, I hope this succeeds and it's top notch quality. That first rendering looks amazing, like Richard Meier is involved or something.

There's a very large velodrome that will be built in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. Some very rich guy is paying for the whole thing.

easy as pie Aug 27, 2012 1:22 AM

man, 100% support for the ice proposal, i wonder if anyone has seriously considered talking with wang and the islanders' management about some sort of arrangement. would instantly become the nhl's most iconic arena.

J. Will Aug 27, 2012 3:10 AM

9 rinks is overkill. What would be better is 7 rinks. Instead of 2 stacked rinks, at one end they could have a large indoor pool with some small waterslides and what have you. Maybe even 5 rinks, with a pool at one end, and some sort of other indoor facility at the other end (climbing walls and such).

NYguy Aug 28, 2012 12:13 PM

Will pols kill another Bronx revival?

By Michael Benjamin
August 26, 2012


The Bronx is about to get another chance to lift the curse of the Kingsbridge Armory, with two new proposals to develop the site. But it will have to overcome stiff opposition by the local soviets that have thwarted commercial enterprise at the “people’s armory” for years. Only two years ago, recall, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz’s insistence on a special minimum wage scuttled a plan for the armory by the Related Companies that promised 2,200 jobs........Fortunately, both Mayor Bloomberg and Diaz now appear determined to check off the armory as done on their “to-do” lists. And two promising proposals have emerged.

The first is the Kingsbridge National Ice Center — a plan for a world-class ice-hockey and skating-sports facility featuring nine rinks and an ice-sports-themed middle school. The second is an indoor Times Square-style commercial venture anchored by small retailers, a cineplex and a Crunch Gym. Either would mark a huge step forward for the borough. Yet, predictably, the Luddites are already vowing to fight any possible good news. Insiders, for instance, think the ice center will get the nod. If so, critics will charge that Bloomberg and Diaz greased the skids in favor of NHL legend Mark Messier and Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, who are behind the project.

The second bid, for the commercial center, comes from immigrant real-estate entrepreneur Young Woo — who certainly has the imagination and financial chops to make it a success. Like his planned Pier 57 redo, Young Woo’s Armory concept is an artsy open-air market with rental space for artists and small businesses. The plan revolves around a “zocalo,” or town square — a dynamic reflection of its host community. Two years ago, Forbes magazine described Young Woo as having a feel for the pulse of New York. The same can be said of his armory plan, which intends to capture the frenetic energy of The Bronx and transplant it indoors.
Bronx Borough President Backs Ice Rink Plan for Kingsbridge Armory

By Patrick Wall
August 23, 2012


Three years after helping defeat a plan to redevelop the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory over wage concerns, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. declared his support Thursday for a new proposal that would transform the historic edifice into one of the world’s largest ice sports centers.

Key to his support is a promise by the developers that all of the center’s workers will earn $10 an hour with benefits, a so-called living wage, which the developer who proposed a mall for the site in 2009 refused to guarantee, leading the City Council to kill that plan.

In backing the nine-rink ice center, Diaz has rejected the other major proposal for the site — a mixed-use complex with a marketplace, food court, cineplex, gym, rock-climbing wall and business incubator. Young Woo and Associates, the developer of that plan, promised that some workers would earn a living wage, but not all. Diaz and others also worried that a project with many food and retail options would swipe customers from local merchants. The proposed $250 million ice center, on the other hand, would not compete with local merchants, and would offer a hockey program for at-risk youth, hire local workers and provide 50,000 square-feet of space for community groups, Diaz said.

Former New York Rangers player Mark Messier is a partner in the plan for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

NYC4Life Aug 29, 2012 6:53 PM

Interior rendering of the main rink:

NYguy Aug 30, 2012 5:28 AM

Nice shot, and good to see this building being put back to good use and to see it happening for the Bronx.

NYC4Life Sep 2, 2012 8:46 PM

Picture taken by me yesterday (9/1/12)

View of the Armory from the rarely photographed West 195th street and Reservoir Ave side. The school portion of the ice center would be located here.

NYguy Sep 3, 2012 12:51 PM

Some more pics of the huge building...

Daniel Case


sbarn Sep 3, 2012 3:54 PM

This building as an NHL arena would be mindblowing. But I definitely see the benefit of having multiple arenas to serve the community / NYC.

NYC4Life Sep 4, 2012 12:09 AM

The drill hall alone is said to be the size of Madison Square Garden.

NYguy Sep 5, 2012 3:11 PM

Video that talks up both plans....

NYguy Sep 13, 2012 3:05 PM

Community Group Wants a Say in Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment

September 12, 2012
By Patrick Wall


While two would-be redevelopers of the Kingsbridge Armory duke it out, a local group long dedicated to the building’s renewal wants to make sure the community isn’t forgotten. The developers proposing a nine-rink ice sports center for the armory on Monday touted a study they commissioned, which predicts $88 million in annual economic activity for the city if the project is selected. On Tuesday, the developer behind a shopping and entertainment plan for the site announced new members of a “hip hop federation” whose idea for a hip-hop museum is part of the proposal.

And on Wednesday, members of the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance, the community coalition, are expected to gather outside the armory to remind developers of their demands for the site. “We want a developer who comes into our neighborhood and actually enlists the expertise of people who live in the community,” said Alice McIntosh, a leader of KARA, a coalition of labor, religious and community groups, which played a role in the defeat of an earlier plan to redevelop the site.

Chief among their demands is for the developer to sign an enforceable agreement that it honor any promises it makes to the community. That way, “when all the trucks and the fancy developers leave, we have something in writing that says they’re going to hold up their end of the bargain,” McIntosh said.

The developer behind the ice facility, called the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, promised that all the 170 full-time jobs at the center would pay a living wage. Youngwoo & Associates, the developer behind the mixed-use complex, called Mercado Mirabo, promised at least 170 living-wage jobs at the site, though they will not set wage requirements for all of their tenants.

Diaz announced his support of the ice center plan last month, citing the living-wage promise as one reason. Diaz also raised concerns that the merchants in Mercado Mirabo’s “creative market” would compete with local businesses. But KARA would consider such competition healthy, as long as the new merchants are not big-box stores, McIntosh said. “The borough president is one person,” she added. “He is not the voice of the community.”
As for the proposals themselves, McIntosh questioned whether Bronxites are really “ice people” who will use the rinks. But she also said that when many residents hear “market,” they think “flea.” Both developers said they have met multiple times with community members, including KARA.

NYC4Life Oct 19, 2012 2:25 AM


Kingsbridge Armory debate heats up


(10/17/12) THE BRONX - The topic of what will inhabit the Kingsbridge Armory was front and center for Bronx residents tonight at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine.

Developers Youngwoo and Associates explained their vision for the armory as a mixed-use facility with local vendors, sports fields, large community spaces and a movie theater. The northwest Bronx group led the meeting and wrote their mission statements on a board which included points about living wage jobs and a new high school, among others.

The meeting was not attended by the Kingsbridge National Ice Center developers, who want to turn the armory into a state-of-the-art hockey facility.

(©) News12 Interactive, Inc. 2012

NYC4Life Oct 28, 2012 6:28 PM


Islanders renew interest in BX ice arena


(10/26/12) THE BRONX - Excitement over the New York Islanders' move to Brooklyn has renewed interest in an ice rink in The Bronx.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is getting behind a proposal to bring an ice arena to the Kingsbridge Armory. If passed, nine rinks and a 5,000-seat arena would be created at the empty armory.

Diaz says a rink would bring living-wage jobs to the area, give inner-city kids a chance to play hockey and ice skate, and even give the Islanders a place to practice.

The future of the Kingsbridge Armory has been a hotly debated topic. Another option on the table is a sports and media complex, which developers say would be a bigger draw to tourists.

The city's Economic Development Corporation is expected to choose a proposal by the end of the year.

(©) News12 Interactive, Inc. 2012

NYguy Nov 30, 2012 2:32 PM

Differing Visions for Armory

November 29, 2012


Residents and elected officials in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx have spent nearly two decades trying to redevelop the neighborhood's imposing armory on West 195th Street, but various plans for reusing the long-vacant structure have failed to come to fruition. The landmark armory, which was built in the 1910s and occupies nearly a full city block at the southern tip of the neighborhood, is seen as having the potential to provide a significant economic boost to the area. But the most recent plan for its redevelopment—a shopping mall backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg—was voted down by the City Council in 2010. The city's Economic Development Corp. now is weighing new proposals. A spokesman for the corporation said it hopes to pick a winning plan by the end of the year.

The two most prominent plans have sparked differences between local politicians and an influential community group, setting the stage for another battle over the property after a proposal is chosen. One proposal for the armory calls for creating the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, billed as the biggest facility for ice sports in the world. It has received endorsements from local politicians that include Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. But one influential community group says the developers behind a competing plan called Mercado Mirabo, a multiuse facility in the vein of Chelsea Market, have been more receptive to neighborhood concerns.

mrnyc Dec 2, 2012 7:18 PM


NYC4Life Apr 23, 2013 5:57 PM

It's Official!

New York City announces Kingsbridge Armory plan
Updated at 09:56 AM today


NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City has finally come up with a plan for the long-closed Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a deal to turn it into one of the country's largest ice skating rinks.

Eyewitness News first told you about the proposal last summer.

The company that designed Madison Square Garden will be the architect for the $250 million project.

The New York Islanders will reportedly use the armory for practices when the team moves from Long Island to the Barclays Center in 2015.

Military use of the Bronx Kingsbridge Armory ended in 1996, and since then, it has sat vacant.

The armory was built in 1910 with an interior so large, you could fire a cannon at one end and not hit the other end. It covers five acres, making it possibly the largest in the world. It is nine stories tall, with stellar brick work, and the inside has a 10,000-square foot drill hall and an 800-seat auditorium, just waiting for new life.

The landmark armory, which occupies a full city block at 29 West Kingsbridge Road, will be redeveloped into a 750,000-square-foot ice sports facility to be known as Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

KNIC will feature nine year-round indoor regulation size ice rinks, including a feature rink that can seat approximately 5,000 people and be used to host national and international ice hockey tournaments, figure and speed skating competitions and ice shows. The project will also include 50,000 square feet of space designated for community uses. The facility will feature nine ice rinks, five on the main floor and four on two platforms elevated approximately 40 feet above the main floor.

In addition to the ice rinks, the facility will have a wellness center, with off-ice training fitness, rehabilitation and sports therapy programs; dressing rooms and lockers with storage for individual hockey equipment; concession space; retail space for ice sport goods; and parking for approximately 480 cars.

(Copyright ©2013 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

NYC4Life Apr 23, 2013 6:09 PM

Additional info from the Mayor's press release:


The project will now begin a comprehensive public and environmental review with an anticipated groundbreaking in late 2014. The entire project will be built in two phases, with the first phase, consisting of five ice rinks, 50,000 square feet community space, concessions and parking, expected to be complete by September 2018. The remainder of the project will be built in the second phase which is expected to open by September 2019.

From today's announcement:

NYC Mayor's Office

NYguy Apr 23, 2013 8:16 PM

No surprise really. This is great for the Bronx...:tup:

mrnyc Apr 23, 2013 10:27 PM

another take on this very good news today!

Could it be? After years of thwarted plans, there's a deal in place for the beautiful Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. Mayor Bloomberg's office added this to his schedule today: "9:00 AM Announces Plans to Transform Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx Into World’s Largest Indoor Ice Facility."

The Daily News had reported yesterday, "several Bronx groups have signed a community benefits agreement with Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC) partners." Further, "KNIC has agreed to wall-to-wall living wage jobs for local workers; over 50,000 square feet of community space; guarantee that 51% of jobs would go to Bronx residents; provide opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses; and grant priority ice time for borough schools, among other provisions."

Concerns over living wage are what doomed a 2009 plan that would have transformed the armory into a shopping mall. (Yes, Bloomberg opposed the living wage.) There have been other attempts (including one with a velodrome) to get a plan attractive to all parties.

The NYC Economic Development Corporation has listed the armory on its list of film and event spaces, noting, "Total Available Space: ~ 285,000 sf; Status: Vacant
Main Drill Floor 180,000 sf; Subbasement 105,000 sf" and:
The Kingsbridge Armory (the “Armory”) is located at 29 West Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx. Reputedly the largest armory in the world, Kingsbridge Armory consists of a 180,000-square-foot drill floor spanned freely by pairs of vaulted steel trusses that rise 110 feet above the drill hall floor. The subbasement below stretches 105,000 square feet. The combined square footages and easy accessibility (parking, vehicle, and pedestrian entrances) provide extraordinary filming and event space in New York City.
Kingsbridge Amory has power and water but no heat or air conditioning. Bathrooms are available.

The News reported, "The proposed ice sports center would include nine hockey rinks, a 5,000-seat arena and a 50,000-square-foot community space that would be open to area groups and an education program for local youth."

patm Apr 23, 2013 10:46 PM

As a Canadian I just came to say how jealous I am of this. Awesome rink complex!

How is the demand for Ice Time in that area anyway? Will this get a lot of use?

Crawford Apr 24, 2013 12:30 AM


Originally Posted by patm (Post 6102441)
How is the demand for Ice Time in that area anyway? Will this get a lot of use?

It's right next to a subway hub and there are very few indoor rinks in NYC, so it should get lots of use.

The shortage is so bad that there are amateur leagues in Manhattan that have 1 AM weekday game times in existing facilities.

And the NY Islanders are using this as their new practice facility, so you have a solid anchor tenant.

Busy Bee Apr 24, 2013 3:20 PM

This will give new meaning to chillin out at the Armory.

NYguy Apr 25, 2013 12:00 AM



mrnyc Apr 25, 2013 2:50 AM

the raised ice rinks are pretty trippy. way to make the best use of space ha!

NYC4Life Apr 26, 2013 3:39 AM

Photo by me from tuesday:

Pretext Jun 12, 2013 6:23 PM


Originally Posted by jd3189 (Post 5795003)
If NYC ever wins a bid for the Olympics, this could be one of the venues. In fact, there's a lot of areas already built that can be used as venues.

Ice skating is a winter olympic sport, and I can't realistically see NYC winning the winter olympics.

I suppose it could be used as some other kind of arena in a summer olympics, but with 5,000 seats it's not vast and there are plenty of other bigger Arenas already in NYC. :)

easy as pie Jun 12, 2013 6:54 PM

amazing and great, fantastic news. like not just for hockey but for all ice sports, free skates, birthday parties on ice, regional/national ice sport tournament and competition hosting, etc.

JACKinBeantown Jun 12, 2013 7:35 PM

New York is so cool.

sbarn Jun 12, 2013 10:10 PM

I wish they had moved the Rangers or Islanders here. This would have instantly become one of the coolest NHL arenas around...

Duck From NY Jun 13, 2013 2:54 AM

Looking at that map it seems that this piece of land is in a very important location in the Bronx.

WestSideGuy Jun 13, 2013 3:40 PM


Originally Posted by sbarn (Post 6162383)
I wish they had moved the Rangers or Islanders here. This would have instantly become one of the coolest NHL arenas around...

Move the Rangers out of The Garden??? To the Bronx??? That idea makes totally no sense. The Islanders as well, it is difficult enough they are moving to Barclays and now the Long Island, car driving fan base will have to take the LIRR to the games, now you want to suggest moving them to the Bronx? Another bad idea!

Duck From NY Jun 14, 2013 12:45 AM


Originally Posted by WestSideGuy (Post 6163224)
Move the Rangers out of The Garden??? To the Bronx??? That idea makes totally no sense. The Islanders as well, it is difficult enough they are moving to Barclays and now the Long Island, car driving fan base will have to take the LIRR to the games, now you want to suggest moving them to the Bronx? Another bad idea!

It would be a cool setting for a professional franchise though

NYguy Jun 14, 2013 2:13 AM


Originally Posted by WestSideGuy (Post 6163224)
Move the Rangers out of The Garden??? To the Bronx??? That idea makes totally no sense. The Islanders as well, it is difficult enough they are moving to Barclays

Nothing at all difficult about taking a train to the game. The LIRR exists to bring people from Long Island into the city. And now more people will have access to those games at Barclays.

But no, you don't want to move the Rangers away from similar transportation.

NYguy Jul 24, 2013 10:54 PM

Canadian fingerprints all over New York ice

Jul. 09 2013


Looming eight subway stops north of Yankee Stadium is a brick, stone and concrete monstrosity called The Kingsbridge Armory, built almost a century ago in the Bronx to discourage civil unrest and to train soldiers. With turrets and cupolas, the armoury looks like a medieval castle. In front is an empty moat. Inside the basement and office wing, Kingsbridge feels like a haunted house, with bullet-pocked walls and dark, narrow halls displaying decades of graffiti.

But to Mark Messier and Sarah Hughes, in co-operation with private investors and New York City, the armoury represents a vision that could turbocharge hockey and figure skating in a metropolitan area of nearly 20 million people.

Messier (in the Hockey Hall of Fame) and Hughes (an Olympic gold medalist for the United States in 2002) are equity partners promoting The Kingsbridge National Ice Center, to open in five years with nine full-sized skating rinks under one huge roof.

The building is on a major train line and near several busy highways. Messier said it will attract not only neighbourhood youth and local leagues, but also top tournaments from around the United States and the world.

Backers hope the biggest ice facility on Earth will make money and diversify the ethnic culture of ice sports.
That may sound grandiose, as optimistic as Messier’s promise two decades ago to lead the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup. Messier delivered on that pledge in 1994, the team’s only championship since 1940. And he said last week that triumph could have meant much more.

....Messier is from Edmonton and Hughes’s father is from Toronto, but they are not the only participants with Canadian roots in a project involving $275-million (all currency U.S.) from developers and $30-million from the city.

The designer will be Murray Beynon of Toronto, whose BBB Architects oversaw construction of what was then called SkyDome in Toronto. Having designed Rogers Arena in Vancouver and Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Beynon’s firm is rebuilding New York’s Madison Square Garden from the inside out.

Beynon has called the Madison Square Garden project “a Rubik’s Cube of surprises” and “a herculean task.” The ancient armoury will be complicated in different ways, and Beynon sounds enthused. “It’s spectacular,” he said of the armoury’s interior. “Fabulous structure. It’s phenomenal.” He called the exterior “imposing” and “almost awe-inspiring.”

Of the project’s design, Beynon added: “We’ve been going pretty well full tilt for three months. We’re into the details.”

Ground breaking is scheduled for 2014, after final civic approval, which should be smooth in that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed the developers in a news conference on April 23.

Editorial: Welcome to a renaissance in the Bronx



Today the Bronx is burning with ambition.

The Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point is poised to open near Throgs Neck next year. The new Bronx Terminal Market shopping complex near Yankee Stadium is a home run. And Thursday State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released a report showing that private-sector employment in the borough grew by 7.7 percent between 2007 and 2012 -- a pace outstripped only by Brooklyn.

It's quite an achievement. For decades the borough's urban decay was defined by the building fires caught on camera during Game 2 of the 1977 World Series. A few days before that game, President Jimmy Carter had stood in a rubble-strewn lot on Charlotte Street and demanded federal action to help rescue beleaguered cities.

Now -- in the past three decades -- the Bronx has seen a 33 percent gain in jobs and a 20 percent gain in residents.

But the most intriguing idea on the drawing board today is a $275-million plan to turn the 750,000-square-foot Kingsbridge Armory, built in 1917, into what promoters are calling the largest indoor ice-skating and hockey complex on Earth. The Kingsbridge National Ice Center will offer nine year-round ice rinks, a 5,000-seat arena, and major hockey and skating events. Former Rangers star Mark Messier and Olympic figure skater Sarah Hughes have signed on as two of the center's public faces.

Backers say they'll devote 50,000 square feet to community uses -- great for introducing big-city kids to the demanding sports of skating and hockey. Promoters predict the place will draw more than 2 million visitors annually.

So why the Bronx? Why not the Bronx? The armory is a unique, landmarked space in the heart of America's largest regional economy and media epicenter. Though an earlier plan for a $310-million shopping complex in the building foundered in a nasty living-wage fight, the ice center is a strong backup and far less loaded with political tripwires.

As DiNapoli notes, challenges remain in the borough. Unemployment and poverty rates are still too high and educational attainment is still too low. But the renaissance is under way -- and that's extraordinary news.

chris08876 Jul 27, 2013 6:26 PM

Bronx BP Shows Support For Armory Ice Rink Plan
Bronx BP Shows Support For Armory Ice Rink Plan

New Yorkers could soon be strapping on a pair of skates at the Kingsbridge Armory after Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. confirmed Thursday he will back a plan to turn the landmark armory into a skating rink.
If approved, there would be nine ice rinks with a 5,000-seat capacity.
This would make it one of the largest indoor ice sports centers in the world.
Concerts and other sporting events could also be held at the building, which the military used until 1996.
It's been left mostly vacant since.

High-profile investors for the proposed rink include gold medal-winning figure skater Sarah Hughes and New York Rangers Stanley Cup champion Mark Messier, who noted the youth skating initiative associated with the project. -

Diaz himself was opposed to the retail plan, because it did not guarantee workers a so-called "living wage" of at least $10 an hour.
The city is expected to make a decision on the building this fall.

Roger Clark, 08/23/2012,

NYguy Nov 6, 2013 11:35 PM

Ice, Ice Baby: City Planning Commission Approves Plan to Convert Bronx Armory to Ice Skating Mecca

By Chris Pomorski


The City Planning Commission voted unanimously today to approve the conversion of the long-dormant Kingsbridge Armory, in the Bronx, to the world’s largest indoor ice skating arena. The 750,000 square-foot facility, which passed muster with Bronx Community Board 7 in September, is due to include two levels containing nine rinks. One will reportedly play host to hockey tournaments and Ice Capades-variety extravaganzas.

Following the vote, Mark Messier, the New York Ranger captain and current CEO of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center—as the armory will be known—touted the support of both Borough President Ruben Diaz and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. “Today’s unanimous vote by the City Planning Commission once again demonstrates the overwhelming and still growing support for this project in the Bronx and throughout New York City,” Mr. Messier gushed in a statement.

The ice center, too, took some flack from local residents, some of whom worried about increased traffic and insufficient parking, while others complained that admissions fees would price out people in the neighborhood. The most compelling criticism has come from those who argue that nine indoor ice skating rinks—with another outside, is excessive. “I’m not against the ice rink—three, I think, is fine,” one woman told The Daily News. “The armory is enormous, and I think it can accommodate other things.”

Perklol Nov 10, 2013 5:39 AM

They could use half of the armory for a farmers market or something beneficial to local residents.

Blaze23 Dec 11, 2013 4:37 AM

City Council Approves an Ice Center for the Bronx


The Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx will soon be reinvented as a national ice sports center under a plan that was approved on Tuesday by the City Council.

City officials brokered a last-minute deal that won the support of Councilman Fernando Cabrera, right, for an ice center in the Bronx.
The project, to be called the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, caps years of efforts by city officials and community leaders to redevelop a cavernous building that was completed in 1917 and has become an enduring symbol of the Bronx’s struggles. The vote came after city officials brokered a last-minute deal that won over Councilman Fernando Cabrera, who represents the area, by calling for the developer, KNIC Partners, to provide an additional $470,000 to address traffic and parking issues, and to support businesses and local students.

The ice center is scheduled to open in 2017, and will eventually include, in its 763,000 square feet, nine ice rinks, a 5,000-seat arena, dedicated space for community activities, and a free after-school program with tutoring and skating lessons.

NYguy Dec 11, 2013 10:14 PM

NYC Approves a Plan to Transform a Bronx Armory into the World’s Largest Ice Sports Facility

By Josephine Minutillo
December 11, 2013


The Kingsbridge Armory may be the largest armory in the world. At least, it had the biggest drill hall in the world, measuring 300-by-600 feet when it was built between 1912-17 by the firm of Pilcher & Tachau. After sitting vacant for nearly 20 years, plans are now in motion to turn that cavernous space into the world’s largest ice sports facility.

Located on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, the landmark structure–modeled after a French medieval castle to project an image of intimidation and impregnability as was the style for militia buildings at the time–had instead become a symbol of neglect in a neighborhood in need of revitalization, fenced off and abandoned as politicians and developers fought over its future during a two-decade long saga.

The $320 million-project, paid entirely by KNIC and slated to open in 2017 (the building’s 100th birthday), calls for nine professional-sized, year-round rinks. A central show rink will accommodate 5,000 seats around it to host major hockey and figure skating events. National Hockey League legend Mark Messier, a New York City hero for bringing the Stanley Cup back to the Rangers in 1994 after a 54-year drought, serves as Kingsbridge National Ice Center CEO. During a local radio show prior to yesterday’s vote, Messier said the project would create an “economic engine” in the Bronx. Though the borough may be famous for its illustrious baseball team and pick-up basketball games, Messier points out the lack of skating facilities throughout the five boroughs. “There are 1.5 million people in the Bronx alone and no rink,” Messier said. “Even if we built 70 rinks [around the city], it would still fall short of the national average.”

In a statement released yesterday, outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the almost unanimous City Council vote “the result of years of collaboration and perseverance,” and touted the project–a personal victory as he leaves office–as “yet another example of our Administration’s commitment to turning what were once symbols of New York City’s decline–McCarren Park Pool, High Bridge, the High Line, and more–into community treasures and international attractions.”

James Bond Agent 007 Dec 16, 2013 6:33 AM

Wow, hadn't heard of this thing until now. Cool idea!

chris08876 Oct 20, 2014 8:59 PM

Kingsbridge Armory project skates past obstacle
The developer of the planned $350 million ice-sports center, billed as the largest in the world, has finally signed a lease with the city.


The developer planning to convert the Kingsbridge Armory into the world's largest ice-sports center announced Thursday it had at last signed a lease for the long-derelict Bronx property. The milestone comes after months of uncertainty spawned by legal disputes over who was in charge.

With the ink now drying on the 99-year lease, Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC), led by founder Kevin Parker and National Hockey League Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier, can begin the process of building out the cavernous 750,000-square-foot building that is set to house nine ice skating rinks and arena-style seating, and that will eventually be home to more than 250 permanent jobs.

"This project will not just build the world's largest indoor ice center, but create a new economic engine for the borough," Kyle Kimball, president of the city's Economic Development Corp., said in a statement. EDC signed the lease with the developers.

Up until Thursday's announcement, an air of uncertainty had descended over the ambitious project, which was financed with hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, according to city officials. It began early this year, when three men involved in the development—Jonathan Richter, Marcus Wignell and Jeff Spiritos—sued Mr. Parker in state Supreme Court to gain control of KNIC Partners. In early October, a Bronx justice ruled against the group, a victory that Mr. Parker's lawyers said cleared the way for the project to go forward.

A number of separate lawsuits remain unresolved, however. Those include a legal salvo over compensation filed by the trio over work they claim they performed but were not paid for leading up to the project's approval last December. EDC, which initially bid out the project, has long maintained that the legal disputes have had no significant effect on the timeline.

Thursday's good news comes less than three months after the developers announced a $30 million round of equity investment from a group of investors led by the Michigan-based Kresge Foundation. Deep in the weeds of that update, the developers also revealed that the project's price tag had risen by more than twice the equity sum. Initial estimates pegged the total cost at $275 million; the revised figure is $75 million more.
OCTOBER 16, 2014

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