Renderings of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center released by the NYC EDC

The Bronx has always held a connection with sports, mainly stemming from its affair with baseball in the legendary Yankee Stadium. With the recent construction of the new Yankee Stadium, the Bronx has been offering New Yorkers an improved atmosphere for fanatics to revel at the world’s most iconic sports team: The New York Yankees. Last week, the plan to convert the Kingsbridge Armory into the world’s largest ice center reached an agreement between developers and city council members. With the Kingsbridge National Ice Center underway and the newly proposed New York City Football Club stadium, the Bronx is setting the stage to become a sports destination in New York City.

Artist rendering of the new Kingsbridge National Ice Center, via NYCEDC

Alas, the Kingsbridge National Ice Center has been given the green light! After sitting vacant for 17 years and evading its plans of conversion into a shopping center, the castle-like structure now has a definite future. The project was previously on thin ice due to the disapproval of local councilman Fernando Cabrera whose concerns regarded traffic in the area among other neighborhood woes.

Nevertheless, rest assured that the northern borough will see the completion of the KNIC within its gargantuan beauty of an armory now that common ground has been found between the community and developers. In fact, the Partnership for Working Families contends that the Kingsbridge Armormy CBA is the “first strong, community-driven CBA in New York City.”The community benefits agreement for Kingsbridge includes as living wage, minimum percentage of local workers, priority community access to athletic facilities, and a fund for community needs.

Artist rendering of the new Kingsbridge National Ice Center, via NYCEDC

The KNIC is scheduled to open in 2017 and will be the Bronx’s first ice center lavishing its visitors with nine ice rinks, a 5,000-seat arena, dedicated space for community activities, and a free after-school program with tutoring and skating lessons. All the while creating at least 267 permanent jobs and bringing in over $1 million into the city’s economy annually. Construction is set to break ground late next year according to the NYCEDC.

If this has yet to suffice, the proposed New York City Football Club Stadium is Bloomberg’s latest answer to the underserved soccer enthusiasts in the city. Although not yet passed, it has been reported that the Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) in the UK is nearing a deal with Bronx elevator parts company GAL Manufacturing. GAL Manufacturing currently oversees the site of the considered arena just south of Yankee Stadium, between the Major Deagan and 153rd street. Not much else has been disclosed regarding the new soccer field aside from it being said to hold 28,000-seats for visitors. If passed, it will be completed  by 2018.

The community has mixed feelings about the plan though. While some embrace the plans, others question its benefits to the community. Even more controversial are the $250-$300 million of tax-exempt bonds requested by the MCFC to accommodate the construction of the arena; money which can arguably be better utilized for the neighborhood’s people more directly. It may prove profitable if the MCFC and the city can negotiate a deal that will cater to the neighborhood’s needs and/or development such as the one granted by the KNIC.

Whether the NYCFC comes to fruition or not, the Bronx will benefit economically when looking at the more than 200  jobs the KNIC will create, and those that could come from the NYCFC.  Additionally, when and if completed, the KNIC and the NYCFC will also build upon the sports presence already established in the Bronx. With these revealings, the stage is set for the Bronx to become the sports hub of New York City looking at its prospective professional sports venues.