With the cool sport of ice skating so red-hot that the likes of Michelle Kwan and Scott Hamilton are household names, developers and Monrovia officials Wednesday announced plans to create perhaps the biggest ice-skating facility in a state known for its lack of winter.
The 150,000-square-foot "Skate City" would have two ice rinks, two in-line skating arenas and a host of other amenities.
The proposal, put together by a group of Southern California private investors, will go before the City Council later this month.
The $10-million complex would include a fitness club, rock-climbing wall, sports bar, laser-tag arena and a child-activity center, said representatives of the development group, Skate City, LLC.
Developers hope the center, designed to appeal to spectators as much as participants, will attract 500,000 visitors annually, from families to collegiate hockey teams.
"This will be a state-of-the-art facility, where moms and dads can sit down with a smoothie or go to the sports bar or the gym while watching their kids skate," said Richard Hale, a local developer leading the project.
Since 1992, two Winter Olympics and the infamous Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding knee-clubbing incident, as well as soaring television network ratings for ice skating and the growth of the National Hockey League, have fueled demand for more rinks as more youngsters take to the ice, experts say.
"To my knowledge this would be the largest ice-skating facility in California," said Peter Martell, executive director of the Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based Ice Skating Institute of America, which represents ice rink operators.
"It sounds to me like a very ambitious and exciting project."
In nearby Pasadena, demand for ice time is such that officials are seeking to build a new facility to replace the small, 22-year-old Pasadena Skating Center, which sits behind the Civic Auditorium.
Meanwhile in Monrovia, City Manager Don Hopper said the city will expedite approval of the two-story complex, planned for a site off the Foothill Freeway near Huntington Drive.
Pending council approval, developers hope to finish the project by late August.
"This will be a major attraction in the Los Angeles area," said Hopper.
"This will truly be a sports center and a mini-convention center. A jewel in Monrovia's crown."
The city has proposed contributing $300,000 to $400,000 to help purchase land for the complex, which is now a small industrial park and trailer park, Hopper said.