Local Man Buys Ice Park, Intact

In this week’s Hook, Courteney Stuart explains how 29-year-old businessman Mark Brown came to acquire the Ice Park. He bought it last week for $3M, and intends to keep it closed it for the summer while he has some modifications made to the facility. Brown is taking the financial leap that the prior owners could never justify: installing a removable rink floor, so that it can be closed and rented out each summer as a general-use large venue. (The rink alone is three times larger than The Omni’s ballroom.) It’s slated to re-open on September 15.

7 thoughts on “Local Man Buys Ice Park, Intact”

  1. I still don’t understand why he bought it. I’m certainly not impugning the guy’s motives—good for him, you know?—but I don’t get it. I thought maybe it was to keep a shuttered facility from impacting the property values of his building across the street, but the math just doesn’t work to justify that. I can’t believe that he bought it as an investment, given the facility’s poor history on that front. I think that leaves only that this is purely a charitable endeavor, the provision of a community good from somebody presumably in the rare financial position to be able to do so.

    Also, I can’t help but be curious about something that is clearly none of my business: How does a 29-year-old have the money to buy the ice park? I’m 31, and I’ve only got enough money to buy ice. :)

  2. Math does seem to work in some ways. First off, the property taxes will come down from the estimated value to true value ie: what someone will pay for it. Additionally, remember that Dominion charges more $$ based on the more you use, plus they charge even more in summer. Figure that he stops ice for the worst 3 months and he likely saves 50% on his dominion bill. (You know where I am- I pay $350 in Jan and over 1K in August…)

    If the previous owners were losing 75K a year, he has covered this right off the top, and then some…

    Use as convention space could put some $$ on the table. And the indoor sporting non-ice stuff can pay some extra frieght. SOCA generates about 1K profit per adult team in its basic leagues.

    I say, power to him. He takes the risks, makes some savvy moves with some extra investment capital and shortly he might be putting some change in the bank…

  3. If it was me, I’d look into an insulated removable floor. Then you could keep the ice in the summer and when you didn’t have convention or ballroom rental income you could break out the ice for skating (this would keep the space above somewhat cool, maybe eliminating the need to add a complete a/c system?) plus in the winter you could cover the ice and heat the space above for events too good to pass up? Don’t really know whether it’d be feasible or not, but the ability to be either/or (skating/event space) year round might be worth looking into? At Madison Square Garden the Knicks play bball over the Rangers ice…

  4. You mean those places that turn into skating rinks on the hardwood when its get hot and muggy outside?

  5. Gotta admit, while sweltering at a recent pavilion show, it did cross my mind that the ice rink facility could probably accommodate a comparable crowd in comfort.

  6. His name is Brown and he is from Kentucky. Hopefully he made his own money but if it is family money then you either have the liquor Browns(Brown Forman) or the Kentucky Fried Chicken Browns (former gov John Y. Brown)

  7. If there’s enough insulation between the ice sheet and a laid-over floor, you lose the cooling value of the sheet. If there isn’t, you wind up having to mop condensation off the floor (you see this all the time in shared NBA/NHL buildings). So that’s really not a good idea. The upgraded A/C should be more efficient than using the ice refrigeration plant for cooling in any event.

    Realistically, low-volume summer operations were killing them anyway — which I hate to say because my hockey group got its pick of ice times for those months, but facts are facts. A rink in a compact steel building with low ceilings, no windows and free on-site parking on the edge of the urbanized 29 corridor would struggle to break even during June, July and August. High ceilings, bay windows allowing tons of light and heat in, downtown where assessments are high and suburbanites fear to tread? No chance.

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