$10 million will buy alot of ice

$10 million will buy alot of ice
The plan to convert this vacant Armory into the world’s largest ice center got a major cash infusion this week.
File Photo

The Kingsbridge National Ice Center’s lease may not be “iced” just yet, but the project is now one step closer.

The Kingsbridge Armory’s developer said Tuesday, August 12 that it had scored a multi-million dollar investment from a Michigan-based philanthropic and investment group,

The funding comes from the Kresge Foundation, worth over $3 billion. The foundation does the majority of its investing and grant-giving in Detroit.

Big $$$ — but how much?

A Kresge spokeswoman, Cynthia Blue Shaw, said in an email that the group had invested $10 million in the project. Other reports pegged the investment closer to $30 million.

Putting money into the Armory is both in line with the group’s mission of urban investment, and is a “market-rate” investment that will help its bottom line, said the group’s chief operating offier.

“This investment reflects the natural evolution of our capital tool box,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, in a statement.

Ice center plans call for nine ice rinks, a 5,000-seat arena and 50,000-square-foot community space, all located where three subway lines meet.

The ice center’s top executive touted the investment as a “validation” of the project, which was approved by the City Council and Mayor in 2013 after many other projects never made it through the pipeline.

“[Kresge’s] decision to invest in the Kingsbridge National Ice Center represents a ringing endorsement of the contributions made to this project by civic leaders and the community,” said KNIC CEO Mark Messier, also a former superstar for the New York Rangers.

Still no signed lease

The positive news comes as KNIC, the project’s developer, has yet to finalize its lease on the cavernous 750,000 square foot center with the city.

The project still faces legal roadblocks. KNIC head Kevin Parker has been battling his former partners Jonathan Richter, Jeff Spiritos and Marcus Wignell in dueling lawsuits over control over the project.

Construction cannot start on the ice center until the lease with the city is signed. And the comprehensive community benefits agreement the developers signed — which includes paying every worker a “living wage” and building over 50,000 square feet of community space — also does not kick in until the ink dries.

Growing price tag

The ice project as a whole seems to have jumped in price, since the City Council approved it 48-1 in 2013. Back then, the private investment needed to make the ice center a reality was said to be anywhere from $275 million to $300 million.

In the press release KNIC and Kresge sent out Tuesday, the project’s expense had risen to $350 million.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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