The Indiana Ice will use the Pan Am Plaza skating facility as a training center and venue for games after renovations to the downtown pavilion are completed this summer.
Pan Am Sports Inc., a group affiliated with the Ice, has signed an interim management agreement for the skating facility with owner Kite Realty Group Trust, according to an announcement from the team Friday afternoon. The facility will remain available for public use.
IBJ reported Friday morning that the Ice, an amateur hockey team that plays in the United States Hockey League, likely would continue training and playing matches in the facility after a renovation.
The immediate fate of the two-rink facility was thrown into question on Wednesday when the Indiana World Skating Academy announced that it would vacate the building’s ice rinks this month and begin searching for a new location. IWSA operated the facility for Kite.
Skating academy officials said “growing financial obligations” and the property owner’s long-term plan to redevelop the Pan Am block led to the decision.
Kite spokesman Adam Basch confirmed Friday that the Ice would manage the Pan Am Plaza skating facility under the new agreement. He declined to reveal the exact terms.
The full-block plaza is located on the southwest corner of Georgia and Illinois streets, and the skating rinks occupy the northeast corner. Kite owns the property, and company officials hope to eventually build a large mixed-use project on the property that could include a high-rise hotel, restaurants, and retail and residential space, Basch said. The timetable for such a project is uncertain.
Jason Burkman, vice president of the Indiana Ice, said Friday that the skating facility would close for renovations soon after the team’s season ended on April 14, and then reopen sometime this summer. Public skating and ice-related sports for non-hockey users will be available, he said.
However, Burkman referred questions about the pending renovation and the role of Pan Am Sports in the facility’s management to team owner Paul Skjodt, who was out of the country and unavailable until next week.
Until this season, the Ice had played most of its home games at the Indiana State Fairgrounds coliseum. The team was displaced when work started on a $63 million project to renovate the facility and construct a smaller, 500-seat arena for youth hockey games.
The Ice has split its home games this season between two downtown locations, playing 14 games at Pan Am Plaza and 21 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That arrangement will continue into next season, Burkman said.
In addition, the Indiana Junior Ice under-18 and under-16 teams will practice alongside the USHL club at the Pan Am pavilion, Burkman said.
The facility will also contract out to a variety of other Ice user groups as the new management team takes shape over the summer, according to the Ice’s Friday announcement.