Chemung Co. IDA Seeks to Terminate First Arena Lease with Mammoth Sports and Entertainment
ELMIRA, NY (WENY) -- After less than two years, Mammoth Sports and Entertainment may no longer be a tenant and operator Elmira's embattled sports facility, First Arena.
The Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, which owns the arena, told WENY News it is in the process of terminating its lease agreement with Mammoth Sports and Entertainment, LLC.
“The Chemung County Industrial Development Agency is in the process of effectuating the termination of its lease agreement with Mammoth Sports & Entertainment LLC. A notice of termination of lease agreement has been provided to Mammoth Sports & Entertainment LLC," the statement read.
Mammoth Sports and Entertainment took over operations of the facility in November 2021, after signing a five year lease. In December, President Steve Donner announced plans to bring hockey back to First Arena, and in 2022, the Elmira Mammoth with the Federal Prospects Hockey League took the ice for the first time.
Mammoth Sports and Entertainment was leasing the facility from the IDA for a term of five years, at a rent of $1 per year. The tenant was also responsible for all utility charges for the arena, including electricity, gas, HVAC, water, heat, phone and internet.
Donner provided the following comments to WENY regarding the situation.
"I'm quite disappointed the county would use these types of tactics in a legal dispute on our lease, but I want to let hockey fans know our full intention is to resolve the issue, our full intention is to be here to play hockey. We do believe that we have a legitimate dispute with the county over delinquent maintenance of HVAC equipment and a lack of a dehumidifier which was promised in the lease for the last year and a half which has caused exorbitant utility bills. Beyond that, I prefer the attorneys work it out" said Donner.
"I'm quite proud of what we've accomplished at the arena. The arena is completely different than it was when we took it over. It was handed to us in complete inoperable condition and working together with the county, quite honestly, we've turned it around and had it the busiest it's been in probably ten years so if we're not in the arena it won't be because we don't want to stay there, we do. We're excited about the upcoming season and the concerts coming up and we're going to do our best to work it out" he added.
In its statement to WENY, the IDA did not elaborate on why it was seeking to end its lease agreement with Mammoth Sports & Entertainment.
It's the latest in a string of troubled management of First Arena. In July 2021, the Chemung County IDEA took control of First Arena from former operator and Elmira Enforcers hockey team owner, Robbie Nichols, at the end of the lease agreement.
Nichols operated the facility for three years under CAN-USA, and said he had previously offered to purchase First Arena.