Bronx's Kingsbridge Armory To Be Transformed Into World's Largest Indoor Ice Facility
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced plans to transform the iconic Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx – vacant since 1996 – into the world’s largest indoor ice facility. 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).
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. It is expected that KNIC will draw more than 2 million visitors a year, vastly increasing the options of ice facilities in New York City, where there are currently only seven year-round ice rinks, none of which are located in the Bronx. The project represents a private investment of $275 million, which will generate 890 construction jobs and 267 permanent jobs.
Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at the Kingsbridge Armory and was joined by KNIC Partners LLC Founder Kevin Parker, New York Rangers hockey legend Mark Messier, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Council Member Cabrera and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky.
“This historic announcement represents a great achievement for the Bronx and the entire City. The Bloomberg Administration has long been committed to revitalizing the Bronx, and this $275 million private investment is another step forward, bringing a landmark building back to life with the largest ice sports facility in the world, while creating nearly 1,200 permanent and construction jobs that will contribute the area’s long-term economic growth.” - NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky
Of the nine ice rinks, five will be located on the main floor and four will be constructed on two platforms elevated approximately 40 feet above the main floor. At least two rinks at KNIC will be sled hockey-compatible for people with disabilities. The facility is expected to be open 365 days a year. In addition to the ice rinks, the facility will feature: 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.
KNIC also plans to create a foundation to establish free after-school ice sports and academic tutoring programs for disadvantaged youth. The program will be modeled after the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation in Philadelphia with the goal of providing 12 hours of ice time each weekday during the school year and 9 hours each weekday during summer.
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.
Built between 1912 and 1917, the Kingsbridge Armory was designed by the architecture firm of Pilcher and Tachau and is an outstanding example of military architecture featuring Romanesque arches, vaulted ceilings, decorative brick and terra cotta, and large battlement towers. Thought to be the largest armory in the world, Kingsbridge Armory is an approximately 575,000 square foot landmarked building. The Armory has not been used for military purposes since 1993. The City has invested about $30 million in capital funds for environmental cleanup in the building, replacement of its roof and repairs to the façade.