Anybody worried about the fate of the Alltel Ice Den in north Scottsdale now that the Phoenix Coyotes have moved west can rest easy.
In December, the National Hockey League team moved practices to the new Glendale Arena. The Ice Den’s sports bar closed a few weeks ago. Coyotes corporate offices will move out at the end of this month.
But check out what’s moving in to the two-rink complex at 9375 E. Bell Road. An expanded-menu Peter Piper Pizza and a full-sized Mountainside Fitness Center plan to take over big chunks of the empty space. Popular coffeehouse, yogurt and bagel chains are eyeing space in the lobby. And a couple of local educational entities are thinking of setting up satellite classrooms in the soon-to-be-empty offices, said Mike O’Hearn, president of Coyotes Ice, the rink’s parent company.
Already, all the prime-time ice vacated by the team has been snapped up.
“We are sold out, and we continue to have a waiting list,” O’Hearn said. “We have the third-largest skating program in the country according to the (United States Figure Skating Association). We also have the largest youth hockey program in the Valley and the largest men’s adult hockey program.”
And all those folks skating or watching the rink action are likely to get hungry or thirsty.
That, plus access to thousands of homes in the nearby McDowell Mountain Ranch master-planned community and even more expected to be built on state-owned land across the street from the Ice Den, have piqued the interest of local eateries.
Among them is Scottsdale-based Peter Piper Pizza, which already has a restaurant a few miles from the Ice Den, just south of the congested confluence of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, Loop 101 and the CAP Canal. Peter Piper president Frank Sbordone said the new eatery will capture a new clientele.
“We think the location is terrific, and we like that a lot of families use that facility,” Sbordone said.
A bonus, he said, is the Ice Den’s former restaurant tenants have left behind a complete kitchen, unlike the built-from-scratch Peter Piper locations, which have only pizza ovens.
Sbordone said Peter Piper also may experiment with longer hours to serve the late-night adult hockey leagues. The Ice Den restaurant will be one of the new-look versions of the eatery chain, he said. The company has opened just four of the reimaged restaurants including locations at Power and McKellips roads in Mesa, and at Gilbert and Williams Field roads on the Chandler-Gilbert border.
Sbordone hopes to open at the Ice Den in August. Another East Valley location, at Baseline and Ellsworth roads in Mesa, is slated for an October debut.
Chandler-based Mountainside Fitness, the largest locally owned health club chain in Arizona, plans to open its fifth gym in the former Coyotes training room and locker space.
The Ice Den version will include more than $500,000 in training equipment and amenities such as individual flat-screen TVs on the cardio machines, lemon-water coolers, complimentary towel service and wood lockers with locks that can be personally programmed, said owner Tom Hatten.
“We can handle 3,000 members, but we plan to cap it at 2,000,” Hatten said. His plan is to provide a “country-club feel” with as much equipment as a typical gym and no waiting.
The gym is expected to open in late summer.
Besides Peter Piper and Mountainside Fitness, the Ice Den plans to redo the expansive lobby, adding its own concession stand, O’Hearn said. The company also is in negotiations with coffeehouse chains such as Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Seattle’s Best, and ice cream or yogurt shops such as TCBY or Cold Stone Creamery to move into the lobby. And the game arcade area is being eyed by a bagel chain.
The rest of the lobby, which has wi-fi capabilities, will be outfitted with comfortable seats and TVs, he said.
The Coyotes corporate offices will become office space for lease, O’Hearn said.