Sport-O-Rama Building Being Bought In Cash Deal By Developer That Builds Multifamily Housing

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Sports Complex Says It Will Continue Operations

By Tina Traster

A Rockland developer known for snapping up homes and empty land to convert to multi-family housing is buying the building leased to Sport-O-Rama in Monsey, according to inside sources.

Rockland resident Berel Karniol is purchasing the building for $18 million in cash, sources say. The complex on 18-20 College Road, which has been a fixture in the county for nearly 50 years, sits on nearly 11 acres of land.

“The deal is all cash, subject to nothing,” a source said.

Sport-O-Rama management says their operations will continue as usual.

“Our ice rink business is fully operational, and we intend to continue full hockey, figure skating and other current operations as an ice rink facility into the future,” said Robert Wolkon, a spokesperson for Sport-O-Rama. “We have a lease with our current building owner, and if the building is sold to a new owner, the existing lease will continue in full force and effect.  We do not anticipate any changes to our current operations as a first-class ice rink facility.”

The large building is being sold to Karniol by Z&G LLC, the commercial real estate company owned by Mark and Donald Zucker.

Opened in 1974, Sport-O-Rama has offered a forum for ice hockey leagues, figure and ice skating, public skating. It has a café and a pro shop.

It closed in March because of the coronavirus shutdown but maintained its ice rinks before melting them down in May, a costly process. It reopened in early July with visitors needing to review the rink’s new safety protocols and sign a waiver before using the facilities.

It has not been possible to hold games or competitions at Sport-O-Rama but the facility has been offering youth skating and hockey clinics. There is no scrimmaging or contact, and there is a cap on the number of participants.

Karniol, who lives in Spring Valley, controls dozens of companies including Trodale Development. For several years, he has bought up homes and empty land and converted them to multi-family units, mostly in Ramapo.

The sports complex is located in the “LO” zone in the Town of Ramapo, which allows for offices, labs, and medical uses. A special permit would be needed to build senior housing but multifamily units would require a zoning change. The housing development on Horton Drive in Zone R15-MR is adjacent to the sports facility.

Karniol is thought to be involved in the prospective deal to buy and develop Nyack College for $45 million, along with another Rockland developer, Gabe Alexander, and a Kaser-based “Vizhnitz” yeshiva.

In 2017, Karniol partnered with developer Alexander to build The Vue, a multifamily property in Hackensack, NJ. The developers secured a $26 million loan from Connect One Bank for the project. Alexander is also the developer of Pavion, a rental housing development in Nyack. Last October Alexander Property Holdings bought the Spring Valley Marketplace for $59.3 million.

Sources say the buyer plans to house between 200 to 300 students on campus at first, and to eventually develop the site into a family-based yeshiva.