May 20, 2016

$18M Worcester Canal District project breaking ground

Sam Bonacci
A groundbreaking will take place for a new two rink hockey facility on Friday.

The groundbreaking for the $18 million hockey rink facility will take place today, for the new two-rink facility scheduled to open in the Canal District in August of 2017.

"Strategic economic development starts with collaborators who see unused spaces for what they can be, and who work together toward a common vision of stronger communities. I am excited to see that happening in Worcester today," Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said in a statement.

The $18 million project will be spearheaded by a $2.7 million environmental clean-up of the former Presmet/GKN Sinter Metals industrial complex by the Worcester Business Development Corporation. The complex has been vacant since GKN Sinter Metals closed its operations in 2007.

New Garden Park (NGP) purchased the property in 2015 and turned it over to Worcester Sports Center, LLC, a development team consisting of Worcester Railers Hockey Club owner Cliff Rucker and Marathon Sports Group, to construct twin skating rinks, according to a release from the WBDC.

To assist in the financing of this cleanup of the site that has been used as a powdered-metal fabricator, polishing cloth manufacturer and structural steel parts manufacturer, NGP was awarded a $550,000 Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF) grant from the City of Worcester and has also been awarded a $1.9 million Brownfields Cleanup grant from MassDevelopment.

NGP anticipates completing the remediation work and delivering the site to the developer, Worcester Sports Center, LLC, by early summer 2016. This facility will include two full sheets of ice, locker room facilities, and approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space. It is expected that this new facility will be the potential "home ice" for a number of local schools and recreational hockey organizations. The new Worcester Railers ECHL team will also utilize the complex as their training and conditioning facility while playing their games at the nearby DCU Center.

Based on the market analysis, WBDC estimates the facility will generate approximately $3.5 million in direct economic impact, drawing 50,000 people on an annual basis to the area for both multi-day tournaments and regular games.

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