Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, in a joint venture with Related Companies and Equinox, has been given control of Central Park’s Wollman Rink for five years, New York City’s parks department announced Tuesday.
The newly formed Wollman Park Partners takes over operations from a Donald Trump-owned subsidiary that had operated the rink for 20 years. In January, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would cancel its contracts with the Trump Organization, though it ultimately decided to allow the rink to stay open throughout the winter.
The Wollman Park Partners bid included the YMCA, Ice Hockey in Harlem, Figure Skating in Harlem and other local groups as official community partners. Harris Blitzer’s assets include the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, Newark’s Prudential Center, HBSE Ventures and Elevate Sports Ventures. Related is a real estate firm founded by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who is also an investor in Equinox Fitness.
“As we plan for our City’s future, our cultural institutions are at the forefront of imagining and revitalizing the type of urban experience we aspire to, one that’s inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all New Yorkers,” Josh Harris and David Blitzer, co-founders of HBSE, said in a statement. “That’s why Wollman Park Partners is committed to restoring Wollman Rink to a place of joy, pride and community development in the City.”
Wollman Rink first opened in 1950; it also hosted numerous concerts during the summers until the rink was closed for renovations in 1980. The Trump Organization took over the stalled project in 1986 and reopened the rink later that year.
“Wollman Rink is one of New York City’s most iconic destinations—and thanks to Wollman Park Partners it’s on track to open again this winter,” NYC parks commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said in a statement. “Wollman Park Partners will enhance the rink by investing net profits into facility upgrades, on-site partnerships with community organizations, and programs that serve all New Yorkers.”
(This article has been corrected to clarify that Equinox Fitness is not a subsidiary of Related Companies.)