BY LUTHER TURMELLE
First Niagara Financial Group has completed a $4.5 million commercial mortgage refinancing loan with the Sports Center of Connecticut in Shelton, officials with the Buffalo, N.Y.-based bank that has a regional headquarters in New Haven said Thursday.
The loan from First Niagara Bank will be used to refinance existing debt and provide new working capital, allowing the owners of the River Road sports facility to expand the complex into other areas of sports and entertainment.
“As local business owners, my colleagues and I were looking for a bank that was large enough to offer us a financing solution at competitive rates, while also providing personal attention and guidance,” said Alan Philips, owner of the Sports Center of Connecticut.
The Sports Center of Connecticut is home to the Rinks at Shelton, which is the official practice facility of the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. It also houses a golf center with a two level year-round golf driving range, putting green and 18-hole miniature golf course, as well as bowling lanes, baseball/softball batting cages and a video arcade.
First Niagara New England Regional President David Ring said the bank saw the commercial mortgage loan to become involved in a facility that draws more than 1.5 million visitors from Connecticut and neighboring states each year.
“The success of the Sports Center has always been a direct result of the imagination and expertise of its owners,” Ring said.
First Niagara has more than 330 branches and 5,000 employees serving customers in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.