NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — After years of discussions, the future of the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx is clear.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday that it will become the world’s largest indoor skating facility.
The 750,000-square-foot project is to include nine rinks on two levels. One rink would be designed to host hockey tournaments and ice shows.
“It will include nine regulation-size ice rinks, including a feature ring that will seat 5,000 people,” Bloomberg told reporters including WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb.
Former New York Rangers captain Mark Messier and figure skater Sarah Hughes, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2002, are involved in the project.
The city plans to lease the building to a private development group that involves Messier and Hughes.
Construction is expected to start next year with $275 million in private money and is expected to generate nearly 900 construction jobs and more than 250 permanent jobs.
Developer Kevin Parker said he’s excited about the future Kingsbridge National Ice Center.
“It was important that we felt when we walked in here for the first time that we dream big. And that this building deserves nothing less than a big vision and a grand vision,” Parker said.
“This building is a piece of living history. It’s an awe-inspiring and iconic building, a castle right here in New York City. And, really, there’s really no place like it anywhere in the world.”
“The construction of the world’s largest indoor ice rink facility will create recreational opportunities for millions of visitors and local residents, and most importantly create hundreds of jobs for the local community,” Bloomberg said. “This plan is proof that working together we can put aside our differences and do what’s best for the city.”
As 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported, the armory has been vacant since 1996.
“As a hockey player, I believe the Kingsbridge National Ice Center will change the sport in the metropolitan area,” Messier said. “As a New Yorker, I know it will also change this city, providing invaluable educational and athletic opportunity to thousands of young people, and transforming the Bronx into the new center of ice sports in the United States.”
“The Kingsbridge National Ice Center – and the educational and fitness initiatives it will create – represents new possibilities for so many children, including those who dream of one day becoming Olympic champions,” said Hughes. “This is the start of something incredible for the Bronx and I am proud to be part of it.”
Officials say it could draw 2 million visitors a year. The project has a target completion date of 2017.
To see more renderings of the center, click here.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)