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Monroe College Inks Three Year Deal to Turn New Roc City Ice Rink into Home of Mustang Basketball

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Monroe College Inks Three Year Deal to Turn New Roc City Ice Rink into Home of Mustang Basketball

January 13, 2011 - 02:30
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MonroeNewRoc-1.jpgMonroe College has signed a three year deal with CB Richard Ellis/Entertainment Properties Trust to lease the former ice hockey arena at New Roc City for use as a year-round multi-sport facility for the college tentatively named the Monroe Athletic Complex or "MAC". Monroe has been looking for an indoor sports facility for the past severals as part of planned move up to NCAA Division II basketball for its men's and women's basketball program.

Monroe College officials who spoke with Talk of the Sound and provided a tour of the facility were clearly excited.

"We have been looking for a permanent field house for about 20 years", said Marc Jerome, Executive Vice President of Monroe College "we are happy to have obtained one in the center of our New Rochelle campus area, our players are so happy to have their own home court."

"It will be a comprehensive athletic facility for us," said Vice President of Administration David E. Dimond. "We'll have basketball, both men's and women's, volleyball, indoor track, baseball and softball practice...everything is going to be concentrated and centralized here."

MonroeNewRoc-3.jpgMonroe hopes to sublet the facility to community groups, youth sports programs, basketball leagues. There are party rooms available that overlook the court. Interested groups and leagues can contact Athletic Director Burt Shillingford at (914)740-6430.

Monroe plans to meet with the City of New Rochelle Parks & Recreation Department and the City School District of New Rochelle in the near future and other organizations in the New Rochelle and Westchester County area about use of the facility.

"Our hope is to bring some life into this building" said Dimond. "We also want to market other businesses within New Roc and the restaurants and shops in the downtown area."

Monroe has moved quickly. The deal with CBRE/EPT was signed last Thursday. The basketball court was shipped from the midwest and assembled over a two day period and the first game played on Monday when the Lady Mustangs defeated Orange Community College 85-22.

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The seating capacity is about 400 to 500 but Monroe wants to put more seating in the facility, probably some court side bleachers. The seating requirements for NCAA Division 2 teams is between 1,000 and 1,500 seats.

The basketball floor, purchased from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, was previously used at U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. U.S. Cellular Arena, previously the MECCA, was home to the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA from 1968-1988, hosting the 1977 NBA All-Star Game, and the Marquette University's men's basketball team. The floor is still striped for the UWM Wildcats and U.S. Cellular Arena but will sanded down and re-striped in Monroe's blue and gold colors in the spring.

The deal, signed last Thursday, ends any hope that the City of New Rochelle will see any sales tax from Kohl's, Target or any other retailer in New Roc any time soon. The deal also puts an end to discussions about Monroe becoming an anchor tenant for a rehabilitated New Rochelle Armory facility. As Monroe College does not have a hockey program, the school does not envision ice in the facility or have any plans for hockey.

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Marc Jerome talked with Talk of the Sound about the negotiations that led to the New Roc deal. Jerome said Monroe had been looking at the New Rochelle Armory, New Roc City and a few other locations in New Rochelle and Westchester. When EPT took control of New Roc City, Jerome discussed leasing space for the basketball program but was told EPT was still hoping to get retail tenants into New Roc City as had been touted by Louis Capelli for years. Jerome said that EPT told him that after evaluating the facility, the company saw three impediments. First, there would be a tremendous amount of capital required to add new floors. Second, there would be a significant impact on Stop & Stop. Jerome then digressed into a new topic and never stated the third impediment.

Jerome hopes to have a major impact on downtown by driving business to shops and restaurants in the BID area. Marc Jerome serves at the Chairman of the BID Board.

Over the coming days, the facility will be used for workouts and practices. On January 26, the MAC will host an alumni game. January 27, a doubleheader of men's and women's games, will serve as the official grand opening of the new facility. To learn more, click the links to the men's basketball schedule and women's basketball schedule.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

Photo credit Jen Parent (except tip off photo from Monroe)

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There are 7 Comments

Would anyone be willing to comment on that proposal? An Ice rink at the New Rochelle Armory has great potential giving our Westchester hockey community a home and bringing in Daily revenue, along with a Community Center, Veterans Hall and place to go for troops that have just come home, a Museum to preserve New Rochelle's rich history, a Learning Center, Restaurant or food vendor(s)would be welcomed as well as retailers and the list of possibilities is endless... but all these possibilities lead to something New Rochelle lacks right now and that is Sales Tax Revenue. The vision to develop and utilize the Armory, a historical site, is clear. Now we need people to bring the ideas forward and bring into our New Rochelle what it so desperately needs.

I think there are plans to put a rink at City Park, but with incompetency running rampent in city hall I'm sure the city will find a way to make it unappealing to most; you know the usual too expensive, inconvenient times rude employees ect.

At any rate, Bramson wants the Armory torn down and isn't going to commit money (if there's any left!) to putting a rink in the Armory especially if one's being built at City Park.

It all seems like a real waste to me. Just look at the pictures in this article, the rink looks amazing to me, why would we build another? Poor planning on behalf of city hall is all I can come up with.

Why couldn't they just leave the old mall? New roc is such a dump. I wouldn't go there if they payed me. Video arcade, models, stop and shop, What a waste. At least the old mall had some good stores like the poster mat, macys, the wall, oh the memories.....lol

This is just a great idea another venue to attract large crowds at new roc. I can't wait for the first rival game. The riots of old are upon us just wait and see you heard it here first.

Subject: Monroe College, New Roc and basketball

While everyone wants both Monroe College and New Roc to succeed, there is another aspect that must be discussed here. First of all, Monroe College was originally in touch with the Save Our Armory Group and considering the Armory for a basketball court. Obviously they felt this new opporunity was of greater value to them. Previously the City Council of New Rochelle had voted to allow Cappelli to alter New Roc for two retailers, Target and Kohl's. No explanatin has been given by anyone as to why these plans changed.

Before these plans were made many people wanted to know why these ice rinks at New Roc could not stay and continue to be used by various
teams. Ken Lewis has put this into focus:
"Sad it was quite the skating and Hockey facility. When originally run well it was a real benefit to out community.
We had 2 College Hockey programs in house, it helped revitalize New Rochelle's Youth Hockey Program and the High Schools program enjoyed the close proximity.
Many other programs also use the rink. Frankly I thought it brought more Families to the area than any other feature. Potential it served thousands of skaters both Hockey and Figure. You can't get a better place to keep kids on the straight and narrow. As a Level 4 USA Hockey Coach I can tell you I feel that many in our area have been hurt by the closing of this Ice facility. My adult Hockey league played many a season there and my son and I got to scrimmage many times."

Don't the residents of New Rochelle deserve to know why the retail is not coming to New Roc and why the change was made to a basketball court? How can our Council make decisions when there is no infornation forthcoming.

You hit it right on. The entire hockey and skating community was shafted three years ago, including high school and youth hockey programs, when the rink was closed. The Mayor and Council refused to stand up to Capelli and, instead of keeping the rink open, closed it and gave Lou and Joe a $7+ million tax abatement.

Despite calls to Target and Kohls, both of whom denied any expansion into New Rochelle, the Mayor and City Manager refused to negotiate with Capelli to re-open the rink. Hockey and skating folks have been led to believe that the foot print in City Park for an ice rink will suffice. Three years later, nothing has been done, except for a slick piece in The Journal News announcing that bids have been accepted. So, where is the development?

When there was a potential to re-open the rink, why weren't hockey and athletic directors contacted? Everyone knows that with proper management, the rink would have turned a profit . . . it was run into the ground purposely by Capelli and crew. Obviously, because it was a hot topic. And those who have an active interest in promoting youth hockey are afraid to jeopardize this "foot print" in City Park. With re-elections around the corner, don't be surprised if "progress" will be made in making this an issue. Rest assured, it will be an issue for the thousands of skaters who were affected by New Roc's closing, and the lies we have been led to believe.

Talking about building a rink is cheap. We've listened for three years, and are no closer to a rink than we were 3 years ago. There was a time when local officials listened and helped their constituents. We need change in New Rochelle, and the biggest change will be voting out Mayor Bramson and his supporters. Enough is enough.

Mayor Bramson, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Although New Roc is Private Property the original developmental agreement contained a Hockey Facility as part of the negotiation agreement. Everything went out the window because City Hall bought into anything Cappelli would come up with. The Rink was good family entertainment. Had the original concept when on the boards been the Rink and a retail component then it may have thrived from the begining. The down fall was the amusement zone component. The City owns the Parking Facility and in order for that investment to occur Cappelli was to follow a certain plan. We all know where that went with the low point being the Easter Sunday Riot. They finally figure out the retail component off load some IDA PILOTS and close the only part of the facility that brought North End Dollars to the Area.
Can you be any more stupid in the process. This is not a knock against Monroe or what they have done. They are just leasing on the spoils of Bramson and Company's total stupidity. That Rink could have driven the retail and it could have really turned the area. Unfortunately they now have 10 more years of down times to deal with. I guess its better than nothing for Monroe in the space but it did not have to go that way in the first place. I have to say its really time to make the Mayor go away. He must fall in the next election.

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