Kingsbridge Armory project closer to goal line, after city agrees to turn over lease

Mark Messier-led project now aims to break ground in late 2017

Kingsbridge Armory
Kingsbridge Armory

The stalled Kingsbridge National Ice Center is inching closer to the goal line, thanks to an assist from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The mayor, who has held up the development of the $350 million redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory, said the city would turn over the lease to the developers, former New York Ranger Mark Messier and developer Ken Parker. With the lease in hand, they’re now aiming to break ground in late 2017, once the state’s economic development arm authorizes a $108 million loan for the project’s first phase, the New York Post reported.

“We’re ready to move foreword with all the legal paperwork to make the project happen,” said de Blasio, adding that he hoped the state would sign off on the loan next month.

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KNIC wants to convert the former armory into a 750,000-square-foot complex with nine ice rinks and an arena. They signed a 99-year least in 2014 with the city’s Economic Development Corp., but the city held onto the lease, claiming the developers failed to show they have $158 million to cover the first phase of development.

In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a boost to the project and said the state would provide $108 million to the redevelopment, a sum that’s the remainder of the $138 million the state committed to the project.

Parker and Messier now hope to break ground on the complex by the end of the year. Their plan for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center includes a 750,000-square-foot complex with nine ice rinks and an arena.

Parker said last year that potential lenders were turning away from the project since the developers didn’t control the site. The developers have raised $20 million from investors in addition to a $30 million loan from the state. [NYP] — E.B. Solomont