The Knightsbridge Armory in the Bronx, owned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has been in limbo for some years now. Back in 2012, developers battled over the space becoming a Latin-infused marketplace or an ice skating rink backed by former Rangers captain Mark Messier and his firm, Kingsbridge National Ice Center. Now, Messier’s proposal seems to have gained traction as the NYCEDC has given Messier and co. a month to show it has the $138 million required for the first phase of the project.
Originally constructed in 1917, the Armory was built to house a regiment of New York’s National Guard. If Messier’s plan is realized, the Armory would be transformed into a 750,000-square-foot ice complex, complete with nine rinks, a 5,000-capacity arena, community center and retail area. Rinks would be used for all forms of ice skating, curling and cater for those with disabilities.
In total, the scheme is touted to cost $350 million, however, funding remains to be an issue after former State Senator Dean Skelos was convicted for corruption. Prior to this, Skelos had pledged all the money to come from a fund.
Despite the financial issues, the scheme has already been approved by the New York City council. Initially put forward in 2012, the arena would be used to host international ice hockey events, fitting considering it’s listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places and is an official New York City Landmark. Behind the project are Canadian firm BBB Architects. Coincidentally, Messier himself is also Canadian.
Speaking to Politico New York, William Brewer, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors spoke of the projects progress. “Delivery of the lease is all that remains before Kingsbridge can move forward with construction,” he said.
Seven years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg put forward the idea of the Armory being turned into a mall, however City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz both opposed it. According to Curbed New York, Diaz supports the ice center plan.