Penguins' Washington County practice facility on the market

| Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Iceoplex, a recreation center for families, a business center and the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team away from the Consol Energy Center, is for sale.

The complex has been listed for $11 million on, a real estate website, said Dennis Allison, a managing partner with Southpointe Rink Associates, owner of the 65,000-square-foot structure, located in Southpointe in Cecil Township in Washington County.

"We are testing the water to gauge the value of the Iceoplex, without hiring a real estate agent to market it," Allison said.

The sale of Iceoplex is not considered part of a trend among ice hockey arena owners in the region. Listing the property for sale was either a business decision on the part of the owner or a way to test the value of their property, they said.

Calling Iceoplex at 114 Southpointe Blvd. the "premier recreational facility" in Western Pennsylvania, Allison said he placed the structure on the market two weeks ago but has not yet received an offer.

About 15 workers are employed full-time at the complex, and depending on the season, part-time employment can reach 175.

Also included in the asking price is Jay's Sports Bar, a 300-seat restaurant, which is part of the complex.

"The building is used for more than just ice skating, such as youth and adult hockey programs. It has 34,000 square feet of display space available for trade shows and sales meetings, and 17,000-square-feet for a multipurpose area that is turf-covered in the fall and winter months for soccer and lacrosse," he said.

The interior of the building can also be converted into hard court for basketball and volleyball during the spring and summer months, Allison said. "I don't think you can use the structure for any thing but a sports or entertainment facility," he said.

Ralph Murovich Jr., owner of Ice Castle Arena in Castle Shannon, doesn't believe the Iceoplex sale listing is part of a trend among ice arena owners here.

"However, although my property is not on the market, for the right type of offer, I would consider selling the arena," he said.

Murovich believes it's only coincidental that the Washington Wild Things baseball field, Consol Energy Park, was recently sold and the Iceoplex was placed on the market. That stadium is located along Interstate 70, near the junction of I-79.

"Although the Ice Castle Arena has been successful, thanks to the ancillary facilities connected to it, the actions of the Pittsburgh Penguins in playing winning hockey and the team's involvement with youth hockey groups, has increased the popularity of the sport here," he said.

Murovich points to his 800-member Club One Fitness Center, the Pittsburgh Lacrosse Store, and his company that sales hockey equipment, as major contributors to the success of the arena.

Jim Lybarger, director of hockey for Bladerunners, agrees that given the right offer, most hockey arena owners in this region would sell.

"It's not uncommon to find an ice rink placed on the market. We did it several years ago with the Bladerunner in Warrendale, but it's not on the market today," he said.

When asked about a possible sale of the Bethel Park Bladerunners, he declined to comment.

Competition in the South Hills is particularly strong with ice rinks in Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Rostraver, and even Robert Morris' Neville Island facility, he said.

Allison's group purchased the Iceoplex in 2001 from an entity that included former Penguins owners Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg, he said. No price was revealed. The rink was built in 1995 by Baldwin to serve as a practice facility for the Penguins.

Former Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Robin Cole led a group of investors who failed in an attempt to purchase the Iceoplex in 2000 and turn it into a community center. Attempts to reach Cole were unsuccessful.

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