Heating up: Renovations underway at rescued Ice Park

news-iceparkWorkers lay down the new removable floor at the Ice Park.

One month after the $3 million purchase of the Charlottesville Ice Park, renovations on the space are well underway, and the changes to the facility may soon have fans of sports beyond hockey cheering.

"We're going to have eight big screen TVs," says new owner Mark Brown, standing one recent morning in the light-filled foyer of the Ice Park where the concession stand and skate rental area were formerly located. Now, the space adjacent to the rink is being converted into the Downtown Mall's first sports bar.

Among the changes: Brown is refinishing the bar with a stainless steel counter and reclaimed wood from Mountain Lumber. Twenty-two harsh fluorescent lights are being removed and will be replaced by three copper chandeliers locally made by Edward Pelton of Pelton Metalworks. The floor–- once covered by rubber mats to accommodate skate-wearing patrons–- has been stripped down to concrete and stained black (the rubber mats will remain in place in the glass enclosed rink area, where skate rentals will also be located). In addition to beer on tap and wine, Brown says the Ice Park will soon be serving up bar fare made on site, and he's hoping to partner with two local restaurants who will cater more upscale lunches and dinners that can be eaten inside or al fresco on what will soon be an outdoor dining patio.

As reported in the Hook's July 22 cover story, 29-year-old Brown is a businessman and downtown property owner who'd never set foot in the Ice Park until late May, months after Bruce and Roberta Williamson announced they were shutting down the facility because they could no longer sustain the financial losses–- an estimated $70,000-$100,000 per year. Brown envisioned the 30,000 square-foot building as a multi-purpose space where ice skating would co-exist with parties, conventions, and various indoor sports including soccer and lacrosse, and his vision is quickly becoming a reality.

On Monday, August 16, workers installed the much-touted insulated floating floor system which fits together like a simple puzzle. The first event–- a corporate party–- is set for August 20, and Brown says skating will resume on September 14.



"The whole idea of historic downtown is crap" "Let starbucks and more chains come in" More to choose from how many coffee shops do you need to find your perfect latte? I'll be you frequent the urban outfitters dontcha cool guy? I think you should be able to find everything you desire in one of our lovely strip malls. Lots of starbucks and sports bars but please do not visit our downtown area in search of sports bars and chains. We like to keep the downtown area locally owned not to mention we like for the place to have some class.

Sports bar...novel idea but there is a skating rink there too...so now we'll have drunk skaters....and they can get the booze right in the same building...don't know how many times I went to "family" skate only to see someone pulled off the ice during the weekend drunk...sigh...such forward progress C'ville.

I am very confused. Why is a sportsbar on the DTM a bad idea? I would absolutely go if there was one there. I am a decent mother of a three yr old, and a classy person, but it is fun to go and have a drink and be in that atmosphere. Or I could not have a drink and take my daughter and just have dinner. What is the big deal?

The reason that you can't find a sports bar downtown is because that would be the worst idea ever. How long have you been in town Cviller?

downtown mall needs some new life, great ideal, could someone please tell me what is going to happening to that big eye sore hotel.

Really - What is wrong with a sports bar, especially in a sports oriented building? So it is ok to have empty stores lining the street? Get a grip, lets starbucks and more chains come in, at least there would be more to choose from. This whole idea of the historic downtown is crap, just because the buildings are historic doesnt mean we still have to live in that age. Go read a book really!!!!!!

Let's see. We're bummed that the ice rink is closing. (Even if you don't skate, it's cool to have the option.) A guy figures out a way to make it work (hopefully,) but the solution involves a dreaded sports bar! Egads! Next thing you know, there will be a trailer park in front of the Paramount and a Taco Bell replacing the dumpling shop! C'mon - get real,Really.

This sounds like a place parents can take their kids, let the rug rats do their own thing in a supervised place, the parents can kick back, have a drink and a bite to eat if they are so inclined. So then you end up with parents Downtown. Maybe a few of these families don't normally go to the DTM and maybe a few of those folks end up buying something from one of the shops. This helps keep the local businesses we have down there in business.

I don't skate, go to sports bars, or have kids; however, I think that this plan will help keep the DTM local, which I like.

Now I could stand behind the landmark hotel being cultivated as a multi level sports bar with each level dedicated to one sport. Turn it into a ESPN Zone that would be my new spot.

Locally owned is a great idea, but when the high rent being charged by the rich owners of the downtown mall buildings keep the stores from staying open then I have a problem. A few chains does not hurt the small business, at least more people would come down to shop. I have had many people from out of town make comment about the many empty tore fronts.

By the way I don't shop at urban outfitters, I prefer to drink my overpriced coffee from the Mudhouse and buy crap clothing from the outside vendors. Turn the hotel into a high rise shopping center. That should attract people.

Liz, you can contact through the website.... www.mainstarena.com It's still being developed, but there is a link to send email.

A sports bar is needed so badly downtown...this seems like a great idea!!!! Let's just hope all the prices are inflated too much.

It's not JMA. It's called being well-rounded, a plus in my book. Oddly enough, a well-rounded individual is supposedly the product of a liberal arts education. Guess where one can obtain a top notch liberal arts education?

I heard that the guy building the sports bar read the comments here and decided it was a bad idea. He's turning it into a Starbucks instead.

Does anyone know how to get in touch with the new owner or management? I am interested in renting the venue and would like to contact them.

I think having a sports bar on the DTM is a wonderful idea. Currently the only options are McGrady's, Wild Wing Cafe, and Buffalo Wild Wings...all of which i despise and are for the most part on the UVA side of town. Having an option within walking distance of the Belmont area is awesome. If its done right i will definitely be a repeat customer to watch some football this fall!

When the C'ville ice park was operating I skated there every week. After skating I treated myself to lunch on the DTM and went shopping in the numerous book stores and other businesses. Since the ice park closed I have not visited the DTM once, since it's not much of a draw without the skating. I'm looking forward to the rink opening again and will resume patronizing the DTM businesses. I'll try the rink food vending options, whether a sports bar or Starbucks. Thanks for reopening the rink!