Roller hockey action at Central City Arena. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Days before closure, Central City Arena scores six-month lease extension

For now, roller and ball action will continue at Surrey building, once home to Stardust roller rink

SURREY — Roller and ball hockey games will continue at Central City Arena for at least another six months, along with the Saturday-night skates there.

Operators of the popular rink have been granted a last-minute lease extension by developer WestStone Group – until January.

The Vilio brothers – Erik, Steve and Glen – had been planning to close the arena doors at month’s end, when their lease was up.

But that all changed on Wednesday (July 26), the day a story headlined “Game Over at Central City Arena” appeared in the Now-Leader’s print edition.

“It was a pretty amazing day, because we got the extension and we also got some good news about another possible site to open (a similar arena elsewhere in Surrey),” Erik Vilio said.

“We’d already called the moving company, hired the trucks and found the location to store the rink, all that, and everything was done, including dealing with staff, and then out of nowhere, we got an email saying they (WestStone) had reconsidered, that we could stay for another six months.”

SEE ALSO: Game Over at Central City Arena, from July 25

The building, once home to the fabled Stardust roller rink, is scheduled for demolition to make way for a 50-storey tower WestStone plans to construct on the site, at City Parkway just north of 102nd Avenue.

Ryan Jenkins, WestStone’s director of development, said the company revised its construction schedule to allow for the arena lease extension.

“They (the Vilio brothers) approached us and we wanted a few days to review our schedule and the status with our zoning with the city, and we came up with a date that works for both parties,” Jenkins said Thursday.

“Ultimately, we could get started earlier but what it comes down to is, when it comes to excavation during the winter months, it’s more hassle than it’s worth, so we’re looking to start construction early next year,” he added.

“The main thing is, it’s not so much a delay – we’re not delayed by any means, it’s re-configuring our schedules so that we can accommodate (the brothers’) request as we go through the process with the city.”

The company plans to build a $200-million GEC Education Mega Center on the site, in partnership with CIBT Education Group, in a project that would cater to international students.

The Whalley-raised Vilio brothers, who have operated Central City Arena since 2010, are pleased WestStone Group allowed for a lease extension for the existing building, Erik said.

To date, they’ve had a difficult time finding another location to move their rink.

“We’re very confident that with the six-month extension that we can find another location during that time,” Erik said.

tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com