Henderson OKs Golden Knights community ice arena for downtown

Henderson City Hall on Thursday, April 13, 2017. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye

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The Henderson City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved bringing a Vegas Golden Knights community ice arena to downtown.

The council will also kick in more than $10.7 million for the project.

“I can tell you that this is a game-changer for downtown Water Street and we’re just thrilled the Golden Knights have chosen to put a location here in our community,” Mayor Debra March said during the meeting.

Knights President Kerry Bubolz presented the mayor and council members with personalized jerseys after they voted for approval.

The arena will occupy the site of the aging Henderson Convention Center at Water Street and Atlantic Avenue, and is expected to cost more than $25 million. The city will demolish the convention center to make way for the arena.

Golden Knights spokesman Eric Tosi has said the facility will not be a second practice facility for the team. The Knights will continue practicing at City National Arena in Summerlin, he said.

Plans call for the Henderson arena to host tournaments, youth camps and lessons.

Bubolz said about 30 percent of kids who participate in youth programs at the Summerlin complex come from Henderson.

“We had a plan all along that we were going to build facilities throughout the valley, and Henderson was an obvious next step,” Bubolz told reporters.

Bubolz said he hopes future facilities come sooner rather than later.

The team will pay the city $40,000 for rent in the first year, with rent increasing by 2 percent each year. Half of the annual rent will go toward improving the facility, records show.

The lease with the Knights, which is scheduled to begin Aug. 1, 2020, will last 20 years with the option of two more 10-year terms.

Some funding for the arena is included in Henderson’s roughly $610 million citywide budget, which the council also approved unanimously Tuesday night.

Chief Financial Officer Jim McIntosh has said the money for the arena will come from a split between the separate redevelopment agency budget and residual convention center money.

At 104,000 square-feet, the Henderson facility will be home to two sheets of ice, a MacKenzie River Pizza restaurant, meeting and retail space, Bubolz told council members.

In addition to scheduling two player appearances per year, the team will annually host at least six “play hockey for free” events and five official watch parties, records show.

City officials are anticipating the project to be a catalyst for business and social activity in the Water Street District.

TSK Architects owner Windom Kimsey applauded the city’s efforts in making it happen.

“I think downtown Henderson, with what they’re putting here, it really just completely sets the bar much higher for creating one of the most walkable, livable communities in Nevada,” Kimsey told council members.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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