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Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023

Santa Clarita May Purchase Struggling Ice Rink

A glimmer of hope continues to sparkle for the embattled Valencia Ice Station as the Santa Clarita City Council is considering a rescue of the 93,000-square-foot ice skating rink — a 20-year-old local institution that has been put on ice since the coronavirus outbreak in March. For two decades, the facility has been seen as a community hub and economic engine by many in Santa Clarita. Now, according to a Santa Clarita Signal report, the discussion of the city of Santa Clarita to potentially acquire Valencia Ice Station is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, when the city council reconvenes following summer hiatus. An acquisition would require the city to buy the two-story facility and its 4-acre property, which, after escrow and capital improvements, could total nearly $14.5 million. “The primary use of the Ice Station would continue to be as a hub for ice skating, hockey and recreation skating, but, in addition, there would be occasions to supplement the use of the facility for economic development opportunities,” the city said in a statement. City officials eye the rink’s potential as “a larger public facility to increase local hotel patronage and induce visitor spending, with the goal of boosting economic activity and generating local tax revenues to support the community.” The announcement comes after a July closed-door session to discuss the situation of Valencia Ice Station, which has been in a freefall since its mid-March closure as a non-essential business. On May 6, during a period of intense community support to keep the rink open, Roger Perez, founder of Valencia Ice Station, spoke to the Business Journal the day after he had a phone conversation with Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth about the issue. At the time, Perez was at a crossroads. According to him, the facility was not able to generate revenue and his landlord was considering a sale of the property. “I’m in liquidation form,” Perez told the Business Journal at the time. “We’ve exhausted (our avenues). Once you dismantle this building, there’s no getting back to it.” Perez underscored the importance of the icy institution he had created. “There’s no one in that community (who) has not passed through that building, whether to have a birthday party, to curl, to broom ball,” he said. At the time, an online petition dubbed “Save the Ice Station” had gathered nearly 25,500 signatures. However, Perez’s conversations with potential buyers, including hockey team Los Angeles Kings — which bought the ice rink at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank two years ago — did not pan out. Yet despite Perez’s talk of an imminent dismantling of his ice rink, it now appears that there may be some hope after all for the three-sheet ice facility. The Business Journal reached out to Perez Friday for comment but did not hear back by press time. Earlier this month, the Business Journal spoke with the owner of the property on which the rink sits on. However, the owner declined to discuss the situation on the record.

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.

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