Pasco News

Developer plans state’s largest ice rink in Wesley Chapel

WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco County developer Gordie Zimmermann went for a power play Thursday, unveiling the design for Florida’s largest ice skating facility and announcing plans for a 120-room hotel adjacent to the massive rink.

Flanked by youth hockey players and his high school classmate, former Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup-winning captain Dave Andreychuk, Zimmermann said the $20 million Cypress Creek Ice & Sports Complex could open as early as 2015.

“We’re already getting calls from people wanting to book tournaments,” Zimmermann said. “They want the ice this fall.”

At 150,500 square feet, the complex would have four full-sized rinks, including one Olympic-sized hockey rink and two mini-rinks. The building would have one multipurpose pad, so it could be used for indoor sports like tennis, basketball, lacrosse or events like dog shows, job seminars, conventions or even high school graduations.

But make no mistake, Zimmermann said the main purpose of the facility is ice.

“The figure skating community is going to love this facility,” Zimmermann said. “With the international rink, we can do Olympic training for hockey. We’ll be able to do whatever we like there. We might even get some NHL teams practicing there.”

The building will feature multiple locker room facilities, and it will have a second-floor restaurant with nearly 500 seats. “It will be perfect for USF games,” Zimmermann said. The university’s team already has expressed an interest in making Cypress Creek its home ice, he said.

Zimmermann and partner George Mitchell closed Thursday morning on the 13-acre site at the Interstate 75/State Road 56 interchange for $2.6 million. They have a contract on the adjoining 3-acre site for the 5-story hotel project.

Commission Chairman Jack Mariano said the facility will provide recreational ice for local skaters and will attract competitors from all over the world.

“Two rinks would have been great. Three rinks would have been phenomenal,” he said. “But with four rinks and everything else you’re putting in here — everybody in the world is going to want to come here to play.”

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