April 24 (Bloomberg) -- New York City plans to create the largest indoor ice facility in the world, with a former Deutsche Bank AG asset manager investing $275 million to turn a vacant Bronx armory into a 750,000-square-foot skating palace.
KNIC Partners LLC, founded by Kevin Parker, a former asset management head at Germany’s largest bank, will transform the Kingsbridge Armory into a center with nine regulation-size rinks expected to attract 2 million visitors a year, city officials said. The first five rinks are set to open in late 2018.
The landmark armory, built between 1912 and 1917, takes up a full city block and has been vacant since 1996. Officials said they expect the development will create 260 permanent jobs and 890 construction jobs in the Bronx, the poorest of the city’s five boroughs.
KNIC Partners will lease the facility for 99 years and direct 5 percent of annual gross revenue, or about $1 million per year, to the city, Tom Corsillo, a spokesman for KNIC Partners, said today in a telephone interview.
“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,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
The facility, including a 5,000-seat main rink, will host hockey tournaments, figure and speed-skating competitions, and ice shows. KNIC Partners plans to offer free after-school sports and academic tutoring programs for disadvantaged youth.
“This project is about opportunity, first and foremost, and we are confident the Kingsbridge National Ice Center will become a source of pride for the Bronx and all of New York City for generations to come,” Parker said in a statement.
The development will begin a public and environmental review and is expected to break ground in late 2014, city officials said.
An earlier 2009 plan for the Bronx armory called for Related Cos. LP to redevelop the structure into a $324 million retail and entertainment center. The City Council rejected that project after the developer didn’t agree to require retail tenants to pay a minimum wage of $10 an hour. The plan would have created 1,200 permanent and 650 construction jobs in the Kingsbridge neighborhood of the Bronx, Bloomberg said at the time.
The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
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