By Matt Wiley
Wesley Chapel’s claim to ice hockey fame could open late this year, if all goes to developer Gordie Zimmermann (of Z Mitch, LLC)’s plan, who officially broke ground on the state’s largest ice hockey facility in our area this morning.
Zimmermann says that he had hoped to break ground on the 150,500-sq.-ft., four-ice-pad Cypress Creek Ice & Sports Complex — located on 13.5 acres adjacent to American Consulting Engineers on Cypress Ridge Blvd. (just off I-75 and S.R. 56 — in January, but had to work around scheduling so that the complex’s ground-breaking ceremony (which drew about 100 people) could accommodate the schedules of all parties involved with the project.
Major sponsor Florida Hospital–which will hold educational classes at the complex for players and parents, alike–announced at the ceremony that it is hosting a naming contest for the new facility at WesleyChapelIceCenter.com and welcome’s the public’s input.
Zimmerman says that the complex received its building permits in December and should only take between 8-9 months to construct.
“We’re still shooting for an opening in the fall of this year,” he says.
In addition to the four ice pads (including one larger-than-NHL, Olympic-sized rink and one removable pad that can double as a multi-purpose floor for basketball and other sports, even graduations), the $20-million facility also will be home to a sports-themed, family restaurant, although Zimmermann says he can’t yet release the name. “Let’s just say there will be a view of all four rinks from the restaurant,” he explains.
Zimmermann says that he’s excited to be part of the overall development of the S.R. 56/I-75 interchange, which will have significant developments under construction on three of four of its corners once the ice facility that can accommodate hockey, figure skating, curling and other winter sports, breaks ground.
Simon Property Group’s Tampa Premium Outlets broke ground on the southwest corner of the interchange in December in the Cypress Creek Town Center Development of Regional Impact (DRI) and the Sierra Property Group has been prepping land for development on the north side of the DRI for the past several months.
“Pasco has this label of a ‘bedroom community’ (meaning a bedroom community for Tampa),” Zimmermann says. “But, with two malls and the rink right here, that’s really going to change.”
He adds that the facility will help drive business in the area, especially for local hotels, like the Hampton Inn & Suites located across Cypress Ridge Blvd. and a proposed Holiday Inn Express which is planned to be located next to the ice rink.
Zimmermann explains that several ice sports tournament groups interested in hosting events in Wesley Chapel have already approached him. Currently, the closest ice facilities are in Brandon (20 miles to the south off I-75) and Ellenton (50 miles to the south off I-75), respectively. The Wesley Chapel facility will allow for larger-scale tournaments than what currently can be held at the other two facilities (which both only have two ice pads), Zimmermann says.
“This project is going to be a huge benefit to the Wesley Chapel community,” he says.
Stay with the Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News for updates about this exciting development.