Plans are underway for the 750,000-square-foot Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx to become the world’s largest ice-skating complex, according to its developers. Crain’s New York reported that the development duo of Kevin Parker, former Deutsche Bank executive, and Mark Messier, former center for the New York Rangers, have secured financing for phase one of their $350 million project, which they plan to begin constructing mid-next year. Parker said that Citibank has promised his group, Kingsbridge National Ice Center, a significant loan for construction to be paired with the $35 million already raised through private investment. “Citibank is committed to doing the first phase of the project,” he told Crain’s. “And they’ve indicated a strong desire to finance the second phase. But we’re going one step at a time.” If approved by New York City officials, the first phase of construction would include the build-out of the 5-acre site into nine rinks, athletic facilities, and a 5,000-seat stadium. Construction for phase one would likely total $170 million in overall costs and Parker hopes to raise money for the remainder of the project in order to complete it by 2022. The Kingsbridge National Ice Center has been a six-year dream in the making for Parker and Messier. The city currently owns the armory and hasn’t given the pair a lease, telling the duo that the city would wait until further financing was secured. The new fundraising news presumably means that the city will be ready to greenlight the project. Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to give the project a $138 million loan to help it find long-term financing after phase one is done. Parker and Messier’s idea for an ice facility beat out other proposals that would have transformed the century-old red brick building into either a film and television complex, a mixed sports center, or a chess center. A highly-contested site, it was designated a New York City landmark in 1974 and was heralded as a leading example of military architecture. The armory originally housed the National Guard and features an 800-seat auditorium and a 180,000-square-foot drill hall. The nine-story structure includes an iconic, curved, sloping metal roof that can be seen from the Major Deegan Expressway and from the surrounding neighborhood near Fordham University.
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Guy Hollaway Architects announces world’s first multi-story indoor skate park in UK seaside town; calls it “controlled adrenaline facility”
In a bid to keep restless youth from fleeing the sleepy seaside town of Folkestone, UK, for more hedonistic pastures, Guy Holloway Architects has conceptualized what is allegedly the “world’s first” multi-story indoor skatepark. The concept aims to create a larger skateable area without increasing the building footprint, and opening up new stunt possibilities by combining different floor heights. Those who dabble in trial cycling, boxing, and wall climbing are covered, too. Although the architects concede that installing continuous graded floors will be “an engineer’s nightmare,” with adequate planning, the facility can become not only an exemplary urban sports center but also an architecturally impressive edifice. Four stories will stand above ground. Below grade will be a subterranean boxing ring—the soon-to-be domicile of a local boxing club. Two undulating floor plates create a series of giant skateable bowls on the upper floors, whose sculptural form is visible from below. Brave skaters and bikers can plunge 16 feet to the level below. Meanwhile, the building’s outer skin will be transparent to communicate the hive of activity within. For the less adrenaline-inclined, ramps and industrial lifts are provided. The building, according to Hollaway, is a “controlled adrenaline facility.” The undulating surfaces provide ramps, moguls, and ledges for executing nosegrinds and tailslides, resulting in a cave-like entrance hall supported by curving concrete columns. “As you come in you’ll see the belly of the blow above you and hear the wheels of skaters above your head as well,” Hollaway told Dezeen. Collaborating with skatepark designers and “famous skaters,” the British architect is designing the building to lure beginners as well as top-notch talent. The team has bandied about ideas to replicate the best parts of the world’s skateparks and transplant them indoors.“We see this as an opportunity to put Folkestone on the map. To the best of our knowledge, this has never been done anywhere else in the world,” said Hollaway. The skatepark will occupy the site of a former bingo hall in the center of Folkestone, which is currently undergoing regeneration plans after its popularity spiked last year by dint of the Folkestone Triennial arts festival. Of the role his skatepark could play in this goal, Hollaway explained to Dezeen: “If you make childhood more meaningful through education, sport, and recreation, then it’s more likely they’ll invest in their town in the future and stay and maybe bring up their children in that town—that is what true regeneration is about.” If designs are approved, construction is set to begin in September this year and finish in 2016.