Developer, city finalize lease to turn vacant Kingsbridge Armory into ice center

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The developer of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center announced Thursday that it had finalized a 99-year lease with the city to transform the Armory into a nine-rink ice palace.

The development team will pay five percent of the ice center’s revenue plus an annual payment in lieu of taxes on the city-owned structure, said a city Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman, though she could not estimate the lease’s annual value to the city.

The center, which will be developmed by former Deutsche Bank executive Kevin Parker and run by NHL great Mark Messier, will invest roughly $350 million in private funds into the redevelopment of the 750,000-square-foot site on W. Kingsbridge Road, which has been vacant since 1996.

The City Council approved the ice center in December 2013, but the project was stalled since then, as three former members of the development team sued Parker in a bid to get an ownership stake.

Jonathan Richter, Jeff Spiritos and Marcos Wignell claimed that Parker squeezed them out, after they helped steer the project through the city review process.

But a Bronx judge tossed the embittered trio’s claims in an ruling earlier this month — clearing the way for the ink to dry on the lease.

The former army barracks has not had a consistent tenant since 1996.RICHARD HARBUS/RICHARD HARBUS FOR NEWSThe former army barracks has not had a consistent tenant since 1996.

“Reaching this juncture caps a monumental effort from community partners, elected officials and local residents who joined us in dreaming big – in supporting our vision,” Parker said in a statement released Thursday.

Still, skaters shouldn’t start lacing their skates just yet.

The blueprints are still being drafted and construction is not expected to start until at least 2016, said a source familiar with the plans.

The finalized lease does activate the landmark Community Benefits Agreement crucial to the project’s approval by the city.

Developers promised to pay workers a living wage, provide free ice time for area residents and set aside 50,000 square feet in the renovated building for community use.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/developer-signs-lease-kingsbridge-armory-article-1.1977160

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