After years of rejected proposals, it’s official. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced last week that the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, which has been vacant since 1996, will soon become the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC)—the largest indoor ice facility in the world. Designed by Toronto-based firm BBB Architects, the enormous 750,000-square-foot landmarked space will receive 275 million dollars in renovations to feature nine year-round indoor regulation size rinks, including a 5,000-seat rink for major national and international hockey and ice skating events, and 50,000 square feet of community uses.
Built between 1912 and 1917, the original Pilcher and Tachau design is a hybrid of architectural styles: brick and terracotta turrets and Romanesque arches surround a long-span, exposed metal roof.
BBB’s renovation will take advantage of the vast interior space with its clerestory windows that allow daylight to filter below the 110-foot-high curving arch of the roof. On the180,000-square-foot main drill floor, four of the ice rinks are stacked on two levels, that flank the grandstands of the tournament rink.
In a city with only seven year round ice skating rinks, the facility is expected to draw 2 million visitors per year. In addition to creating 267 permanent jobs and 890 construction jobs for the community, there are plans for a foundation that will establish free after school sports and academic programs for disadvantaged youth.
The Mayor was joined by New York Rangers hockey legend Mark Messier and Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes to announce the news Tuesday. The two-phase project is expected to break ground in late 2014. The first phase is scheduled to open in 2018 and the second phase should be finished a year later.