Redevelopment of Bronx Armory to Create World’s Largest Indoor Ice Sports Facility

The iconic — but long-vacant — Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx will be redeveloped into the world’s largest indoor ice facility.

The iconic — but long-vacant — Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx will be redeveloped into the world’s largest indoor ice facility, the $275 million Kingsbridge National Ice Center, the project’s developer, KNIC Partners L.L.C., announced Tuesday.

The ice center’s backers include NHL Hall of Famer and former New York Ranger Mark Messier and figure skater Sarah Hughes, gold medalist in ladies’ singles at the 2002 Olympics. KNIC Partners founder Kevin Parker spent a decade on the management board of a major global bank and was also the founder of a $7.5 billion hedge fund and global head of a $750 billion asset management platform.

An individual who’s familiar with the project and spoke with Commercial Property Executive on condition of anonymity said that the redevelopment will be funded through a combination of equity and debt.

The 575,000-square-foot armory, reputedly the world’s largest, covers almost all of a nearly 5-acre site. Its 180,000-square-foot main drill floor measures 300 feet by 600 feet, more than a full city block, and is spanned by pairs of vaulted steel trusses that rise 110 feet above the drill hall floor.

The 750,000 square-foot KNIC will feature nine year-round indoor rinks (three Olympic- and six NHL-sized): five on the main floor and four on two platforms elevated about 40 feet above the main floor. The 5,000-seat center show rink will host major hockey and figure skating events.

The facility will also feature a wellness center, dressing and locker rooms, concession space, retail space, and parking for about 480 cars.

 

Hosting hockey, figure skating, speed skating, synchronized skating, ice dancing and curling, the KNIC is expected to be an international sporting destination on par with Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden in attendance, drawing more than 2 million visitors a year.

The project is scheduled for groundbreaking in late 2014, following a comprehensive public and environmental review, according to a separate release from the city. The first phase, consisting of five ice rinks, 50,000 square feet of community space, concessions and parking, is expected to be complete by September 2018. The remainder of the project is expected to open in September 2019.

Completed in 1917, the armory is considered an outstanding example of military architecture, with Romanesque arches, vaulted ceilings, decorative brick and terra cotta, and large battlement towers. Beneath the drill floor, a 105,000-square-foot basement and 207,000-square-foot sub-basement formerly housed offices, a garage, rifle and pistol ranges, a dining room, a gymnasium, and an auditorium.

In 1982 the armory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its military use essentially ended in 1993, and in 1996 it was turned over to the city, which since then has invested about $30 million in environmental cleanup, replacement of the roof and repairs to the façade.

Parts of the 2006 movie “I Am Legend,” starring Will Smith, were filmed at the armory.