The city issued a permit July 23 for initial work toward converting the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex into the Jacksonville Icemen Igloo for the city’s professional hockey team.
The Igloo, at 3605 Philips Highway, is part of San Marco East, at Interstate 95 and Emerson Street.
Bluewater Builders Inc. of Coral Springs is the contractor and Chiodini Architects of St. Louis, Missouri, is the architect for the estimated $400,000 project for demolition and interior structural work.
Icemen President Bob Ohrablo said at a news conference March 30 that construction will start in August and take 10 to 12 months.
The renovation, excluding the $6 million to purchase the property, is expected to cost $12.5 million.
Andy Kaufmann, majority owner of the Icemen, said previously the Icemen Igloo will comprise two ice rinks, a sports bar, protein shop, esports arena and the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame.
The sports bar will have floor-to-ceiling windows so guests can eat and drink with a view of the rinks.
The second ice rink will be built first so people can continue to skate at the facility during the renovations.
“Since coming to Jacksonville in 2017, the Icemen have demonstrated their commitment to this city time and time again,” Mayor Lenny Curry said at the news conference.
City Council voted 17-0 on March 23 to approve Ordinance 2021-0113, which authorizes a 20-year, $6.5 million loan at 3% interest and a $1 million completion grant for Iceman affiliate Icemen Igloo LLC.
JICE LLC, managed by Kaufmann, bought the Sportsplex on March 15 for $6 million from PSF I Jax Metro LLC, according to the Duval County Clerk of Courts.
Icemen representatives and administration officials say the deal would provide colleges in the North Florida region a home rink, create inner-city hockey and educational programs and attract youth and adult hockey and figure skating tournaments from throughout the Southeastern U.S.
From 2017-21, the Icemen served as the ECHL affiliate for the Winnipeg Jets (NHL) and Manitoba Moose (AHL).
The Icemen announced June 29 the team entered into a multiyear affiliation agreement with the NHL’s New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack.
On April 1, the city and the Icemen announced the renovation. The project is being developed and managed by Icemen Igloo. LLC, a Zawyer Sports company, which also owns the Jacksonville Icemen.
They announced the group will begin management of the facility Aug. 1.
The release said the $18.5 million investment is being funded through local investors and $7.5 million city loan and grant.
It said the current one-rink building will feature two NHL/ECHL regulation size rinks, a sports-themed restaurant and lounge, new locker rooms, conference rooms, snack bar, Icemen team and pro shop, Icemen training facility, Zawyer Sports and Icemen headquarters and a new Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame.
The VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena is the team’s home arena.
The Icemen home opener for the 2021-22 season is scheduled Nov. 6 against the South Carolina Stingrays.