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SAN ANTONIO-Work is underway on a 78,000-sf facility that will house two ice rinks and associated activities in San Antonio’s north central submarket.

The facility will offer two full-size ice sheets for recreational skaters and San Antonio’s community of figure skaters and hockey players. A minor league hockey team, owned by the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, will use the facility for practice. The team will play its games at the Spurs new home, the SBC Center in downtown San Antonio.

Barshop Ventures, affiliated with the San Antonio-based Barshop & Oles real estate firm, and Dallas-based Winshire Cos. are developing the ice facility as Ice Partners Ltd. International Bank of Commerce, based in Laredo, has provided the project’s financing. Insiders tell the cost is $6.5 million.

In addition to the ice rinks, the center will have a snack bar, video game room, pro shop and locker rooms, according to Bruce Barshop, a principal in Barshop Ventures. He says there are several reasons for putting an ice center in San Antonio. “Starting with that my son plays hockey,” he says with a laugh.

More seriously, Barshop tells that San Antonio has no regulation-size, full-time ice rinks unlike other major Texas cities. “We think there’s sufficient demand and interest, particularly with this new team coming to town, to generate a lot of interest in ice sports,” he says.

Several ice facilities have been built in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area in recent years and one is being planned for Cedar Park, northwest of Austin. “The experiences in other cities show that ice sports grow when there’s an ice facility,” Barshop says.

The San Antonio ice center will be part of 323,000-sf Northwoods Shopping Center, a Barshop & Oles project at Loop 1604 and US Highway 281. Retailers in the center include H-E-B, SteinMart, Regal Cinema, Hollywood Video, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, la Madeleine and Pier 1 Imports.

Barshop looks for the first ice sheet to be ready Dec. 20. The other ice sheet and rest of the project will follow about three weeks later.

Manhattan Construction is the project’s general contractor. Lane & Smart is the architect.

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