A new indoor ice center slated to open in the Bronx, New York, in 2017 will generate more than $1.7 billion in economic benefits to the surrounding community, according to a study recently released by the center’s developer. If built according to plans, the 750,000-square-foot facility, known as the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, will become the largest of its kind, hosting nine indoor ice rinks and a giant community center.
The facility will occupy an existing building, the Kingsbridge Armory, which has stood vacant since 1996. Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, spokesperson for the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance, called the ice center “a game changer” for the neighborhood. She said, “We’re on the cusp of creating a new economy for the Northwest Bronx.”
“We’ve seen new athletic facilities completely transform the communities in which they’re established,” said Danielle Comeau of EZFacility, a sports facility management software developer in Woodbury, New York. “Jobs, tourism, sports teams, fans, nearby restaurants and hotels — all of these things follow in the wake of new sports facilities, and they can have a huge positive impact on the local area.”
When plans for the ice center were drawn up, the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance signed an agreement requiring at least 51 percent of employees to be Bronx residents, and stipulating that employees be paid at least $10 per hour with benefits or $11.50 without. In addition, the community will receive 1.5 percent of the ice center’s annual revenues, or $276 million over the 99-year lease period. Also, the residents of the surrounding area will have free access to the 50,000-square-foot community center that will occupy the rink.