Local landmark Culver Ice Arena may have to close its doors because of a proposed rent increase.
Culver Ice Arena’s Skating School and Youth Hockey director Shannon Takahashi explained that the rink’s lease is up in February, and the landlord is asking for $68,000 a month, a dramatic increase from the $35,000 rent that the rink pays each month under its current lease.
“[The building’s owner] is saying that Culver City landlords are getting $2.50 per square foot [in rent], and they are trying to expect that we pay that, but if we could pay that then there would be a lot more ice rinks around,” Takahashi said.
Despite negotiation efforts, the landlord and rink owners have yet to come to an agreement. Takahashi explained that the landlord has rejected four of their offers for a renegotiated rent, and the landlord has responded with multiple counter offers that the rink cannot afford to pay. “They are looking for other companies, one of them being Sky Zone, which is a trampoline place,” Takahashi explained.
Culver Ice Arena has stood on Sepulveda Boulevard for decades and has made history with its impressive roster of customers, including both solo skaters and professional hockey teams. The rink is most well known for hosting the Los Angeles Kings as well as a range of professional hockey teams visiting the Los Angeles area. Several Olympic skaters, such as Tai Babilonia and her skating partner Randy Gardner, practiced at the rink.
“We’ve been here for fifty-two years, and we have to stay,” said Takahashi.
Many Los Angeles natives consider Culver Ice Arena to be a site of myriad memories. “I might have to put the skates to rest if it closes. It was definitely a huge part of my childhood,” Alex ’16 said.
Not all students feel as strongly about the possible closing as Alex.
“I will probably find another place if the rink closes, but my heart will be hurt that it is gone,” Zoah ’16 admitted.
In light of the difficult situation, the community is rallying in support.
Takahashi said that the rink is currently collecting letters from children who enjoy the arena’s services, and the rink’s employees plan to bring the letters with them when they petition Culver City’s City Hall for support in renegotiating the rent.
“We are trying to get the city’s support and have them help us any way possible to keep it a rink,” Takahashi said.