Getting Into Nitty Gritty of Kingsbridge Ice Project Loan

THE IMPENDING KINGSBRIDGE  National Ice Center at the Kingsbridge Armory (background) seen from Davidson Avenue. File Photo

State officials are in the midst of finalizing a $138 million capital loan to the developers of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC) after a five-member board approved the measure during their latest meeting.

During its Oct. 18 meeting, the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB), which supervises the activities of New York’s numerous public benefit corporations, unanimously approved the general project plan outlined by the state’s Empire State Development (ESD) agency. In addition to the $138 million loan commitment, the ESD plan also includes $26.4 million in historic tax credits and an additional $20.7 million in “other preferred equity.” All told, under the PACB-approved plan, KNIC is slated to receive $185.1 million in state public assistance.

But according to ESD spokesperson Amy Varghese, funds from the $138 million loan will not be made available to KNIC until the ice center is completed. “Our agreement is to provide the loan at the substantial completion of construction,” Varghese told The Norwood News in an emailed statement. According to ESD’s project plan, the first phase of development, which includes the construction of the ice center’s first five ice rinks, is anticipated to be completed in late 2020.

The ESD loan, however, has not yet completed its journey through the state’s bureaucracy. For it to be finalized, ESD’s Board of Directors must still assess any public comments and affirm the loan.

The first matter is largely settled with local residents having already voiced their support for the state’s plan for the ice center at a hearing last month. Community Board 7, the civic panel that overlaps with the Armory, originally approved the KNIC project in September 2013.

As a result of the positive feedback, ESD’s Board of Directors is poised sign off on the loan at their next meeting later this month. Approval of the loan will allow KNIC to release the lease to the Armory from escrow and to secure a construction loan, thereby enabling construction on the troubled project to finally begin.

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