Officials with First Niagara Financial Group announced Thursday that it has completed a $4.5 million commercial mortgage refinancing loan with The , located on River Road in Shelton. The loan will be used to refinance existing debt and provide new working capital, allowing the owners to service their growing customer base and expand the complex into other areas of sports and entertainment.
“As local business owners, my colleagues and I were looking for a bank that was large enough to offer us a financing solution at competitive rates, while also providing personal attention and guidance,” said Sports Center owner Alan Phillips. “Our financing team at First Niagara was very responsive. They rolled up their sleeves and took every opportunity to learn more about our business.”
The Sports Center is a unique year-round family sports and entertainment facility. It is home to the Rinks at Shelton (formerly known as Bishop Rinks), the world’s only double-decker ice-skating arena, with two NHL-size rinks stacked one on top of the other. It is also the official practice facility of the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, top affiliate of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.
First Niagara saw the commercial mortgage loan as a unique opportunity to finance a special purpose piece of real estate that draws more than 1.5 million visitors from Connecticut and neighboring states each year.
“The success of the Sports Center has always been a direct result of the imagination and expertise of its owners,” said First Niagara New England Regional President David Ring. “They recognize the opportunity to provide the state with a truly unique sports and entertainment facility, and we’re excited to provide them with the financing needed to continue to grow their business.”
In addition to the Rinks, the 15-acre facility houses a Golf Center with a double decker year-round golf driving range, putting green and 18-hole miniature golf course, bowling lanes, baseball/softball batting cages, Lazer Tag and a state of the art Game Zone video arcade.
“Local expertise and personal attention played a large part in the Sports Center’s decision to choose First Niagara as its lender,” said Kim Rodney, First Niagara Vice President of Commercial Lending for Fairfield County. “Being a Fairfield County resident gives me insight into the opportunities and challenges presented by my clients’ location, and puts me in a better position to help them achieve their goals.”