For 10 years, an indoor skating rink has been one of Colorado Springs’ most popular attractions | Have you ever wondered? | Blogs

Before Acacia Park’s outdoor rink became a seasonal tradition, downtown Colorado Springs had a permanent indoor rink open for 10 years. It was called the Plaza Ice Chalet and was located at 111 S. Tejon Street, inside the Plaza of the Rockies.

Built in 1984, the sprawling 168,000 square foot Plaza of the Rockies office and retail complex became a hub for several businesses and the rink was a popular destination for skating enthusiasts, school outings and holiday celebrations . The rink was part of the building when it was built on a city-designated urban renewal site.

The Ice Chalet hosted an annual Christmas pageant in conjunction with the Festival of Lights Parade. This event usually offered free performances and skate times. In 1989 the Broadmoor Skating Club and the Centennial Skating Club held exhibition skating shows with skaters aged 6 to 17.

In 1990, the Ice Chalet Christmas Show featured a routine by two-time U.S. National silver medalist and Colorado Springs resident Scott Cramer. Jill Trenary of Colorado Springs, who was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2002, was also known to skate there.

The site was popular with locals and the facility and was one of only two locations available for public skating at the time. The other was the Sertich Ice Center in Memorial Park. The Chapel Hills Mall ice rink did not open until 1998 and closed in 2006. Despite its popularity, the Ice Chalet was not profitable according to the owners of Plaza of the Rockies.

The Bank of Nova Scotia, which seized a $21 million loan on the complex in the late 1980s, closed the rink on March 9, 1994, before selling it to local developer David Jenkins, president of Nor’ wood Development, which purchased the rink. property for $6.3 million. At the time, Jenkins said he wanted to remove the first-floor rink because it was losing money and because he didn’t have liability insurance to cover its operation.

“It’s an economic sinkhole, it always has been,” Jenkins said of the rink in a May 12, 1994 Gazette article.

The Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority, which oversaw the initial development of the Plaza of the Rockies, had to approve a change in the building’s use and agreed with Jenkins.

“It’s sad to lose ice space in Colorado Springs,” authority chairman Mike Baker said in the same article. “But, in my opinion, you cannot force a private owner to maintain part of his property for public use.”

Colorado Springs skating fans weren’t happy with the decision. More than 30 parents of children taking skating lessons at the rink pleaded with the authority to keep it open.

A lawsuit filed by Bill Huddy, a PaineWebber broker and manager of the Plaza Ice Chalet Figure Skating Club, led the authority to take a second vote on closing the rink.

Huddy argued that the authority overstepped its bounds because removing the rink was a substantial change in a 22-year-old urban renewal plan, one that only the city council should make.

The effort was futile, however, as Huddy was unable to provide $10,000 bond that a judge wanted as security to reimburse Jenkins for damages he might suffer if the order was later overturned. In a second vote, the authority unanimously agreed to let Jenkins get rid of the rink.

Just over a year later, in August 1995, Jenkins completed an $800,000 renovation of the Plaza of the Rockies. It added 42,000 square feet of office space over two floors and included a lobby renovation and expanded elevator service to the building’s parking garage.

Today, Nor’wood Development owns, develops and manages multiple properties across the city, not just the Plaza of the Rockies. This includes the communities of Nor’wood, Wolf Ranch and Mesa Ridge. He also developed the First & Main Town Center near Powers and Constitution, the Alamo Corporate Center, and four apartment communities.

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