BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — For the first time since 2004, an ice castle could be coming to the Twin Cities this winter. But not where you think.
The Mall of America plans to partner with a Utah-based ice sculpting business to bring a winter wonderland to Bloomington in December.
If the Bloomington Planning Commission signs off on the project Thursday, Ice Castles LLC would have the green light to start building the 1-acre structure in the “Met Lot,” overflow parking on the north side across Lindau Lane.
“I approached the Mall and said, ‘Here’s a crazy idea, what do you think?’ And they absolutely loved it,” said Ryan Davis, a Salt Lake City real estate consultant who co-owns Ice Castles. “It’s the biggest castle we’ve ever built and I think it’s going to be something that (Minnesotans) haven’t ever seen before.”
Visitors to the “Ice Castles of America” exhibit would enter through a long tunnel of pure ice that leads to one of several winter courtyards inside. The ice blocks have built-in lights that provide color.
“When you’re inside the castle, it looks like you’re inside a glacier,” Davis said. “People will be able to stare up at several towers that reach 35 feet into the air. I think people of all ages will really enjoy it.”
Work on the castle would begin in early November. It would tentative open in late December and remain operating through March.
But what if it’s another unusually warm winter?
“We are a little concerned about that, but last year was one of the warmest in the Rocky Mountains and we survived,” Davis said. “Let’s just hope it’s not two (very mild winters) in a row.”
Ice Castles is a relatively new company, debuting in small towns across Utah and Colorado. Davis and his business partners are planning a castle in Breckenridge, Colo. this winter.
Davis and the Mall of America have not finalized a ticket price. Admission at smaller castles was $10 last winter.
Ice castles were long a staple of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, but the slow economy has made it a difficult trend to continue.
The last castle constructed in Rice Park was in 2004, in conjunction with the NHL All-Star Game.
Music video at one of Ice Castle’s Creations: