Central–The project to build a 100,000-square-foot rink facility in Worcester will redevelop the former Presmet/GKN Sinter Metals property — a 3.4-acre vacant and contaminated site — into a destination for ice skating and collegiate and youth hockey. New Garden Park, Inc., the nonprofit subsidiary of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC) and the site’s owner, moved forward with demolition and cleanup of the site this year.
MassDevelopment awarded the project a $2 million loan to assess and remediate the property. New Garden Park will lease the land to Worcester Sports Center, LLC, formed by local businessmen Cliff Rucker and Scott Rouisse. Rucker owns the new Worcester Railers Hockey Club, which will practice at the rinks along with several area college hockey teams and 1,300 youth players from two junior hockey leagues. The City of Worcester also contributed $550,000 to the anticipated $3 million in total costs to remediate the site.
The project has spurred further restaurant and retail development in the area surrounding the rinks. In addition to its two rinks, the facility will boast several retail spaces. The rink building will have windows that brighten the dark interiors typical of ice rinks and present an attractive exterior. Craig Blais, President & CEO of the WBDC, said the organization estimates the facility will attract more than 50,000 users each year. He added that the rinks will operate 18 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week, and will attract multiday tournaments that will benefit nearby hotels and restaurants. The project will create 15 full-time jobs and 76 construction jobs.
“With the help of MassDevelopment, we were able to take this contaminated, former industrial site and transform it into the new home of the Worcester Sports Center. This type of partnership and support is needed for difficult remediation projects for the betterment of our community.” – Craig Blais, President & CEO, WBDC