ELLENTON -- As of Friday, Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett and his business partner Marvin Kaplan put their pucks and skates away.
Under the name of their company MJ Squared LLC, the owners sold the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex to Space Coast Iceplex owner Matt Smith for "just at $7 million," Bennett said.
Three different parties were interested in the complex, Bennett said, and the MJ Squared partners chose Space Coast because of its track record.
The Space Coast Iceplex is in Rockledge, about half an hour from the Kennedy Space Center on the east coast. The Space Coast facility, according to its website, has an Olympic-size ice surface, a pro shop, a space academy, a fitness center and a dance studio, a snack bar, a sports bar, multi-use party rooms and skate sharpening services.
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Smith's experience running an ice rink made him the ideal candidate.
"These people are experienced operators," Bennett said.
Although the former state senator said in the past that the complex was his most profitable Florida business and he wasn't interested in selling it, he told the Bradenton Herald in 2013 that the right amount of money could change his mind. The $7 million offer plus Smith's background turned the corner.
"We felt someone else could probably take it to the next level," Bennett said of the decision to sell.
The partners took over the Ellenton ice rink in October 2005 after they purchased a $5 million mortgage from originator Regions Bank. The 115,000 square-foot Ellenton Ice Complex, next to Ellenton Premium Outlets off Interstate 75, houses two National Hockey League-size ice rinks, a 13,500-square-foot indoor turf field, a fitness center, a video game room, conference rooms, a concessions area, multi-
use party rooms, a pro shop and a massage therapy studio.
MJ Squared LLC also owns two parcels totaling 9.41 acres just north of Ellenton Ice Complex. The property, along with three other parcels owned by Kaplan's Mik Advanta LLC and totaling almost 5 acres, is listed on commercial real estate website LoopNet as a $6.5 million "great development opportunity for a hospitality." Kaplan's son Brett Kaplan is the listing broker listed on LoopNet.
Smith could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Janelle O'Dea, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095 or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.