ST. LOUIS – The Blues, City of Maryland Heights and the St. Louis Legacy Ice Foundation broke ground on the new community ice center Thursday morning.

The 277,000 square-foot facility will have four NHL ice surfaces, including one outdoors. It will serve as the official practice facility of the Blues.

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"We are beyond excited to get this project underway," said Blues President and CEO of Business Operations Chris Zimmerman. "The St. Louis Community Ice Center is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people and serves to advance our efforts to continue to grow the game of hockey throughout St. Louis and our region as a whole."

Lindenwood University hockey, the St. Louis Blues AAA program and the St. Louis Lady Cyclones will call the facility home.

On Tuesday, the Blues also announced they will be making a $100,000 commitment to the rink development project in Chesterfield for the Chesterfield Youth Hockey Association. The club will also make annual $10,000 commitments to Blues Youth Hockey Membership Clubs.

The ice center is expected to attract more than one million visitors and drive more than 16,000 hotel night bookings to deliver an estimated $20 million annual impact on the region's economy.

According to the Blues, the facility is a $78 million project funded through a public-private partnership, with support from the City of Maryland Heights, St. Louis County and the State of Missouri. The facility will occupy approximately 25 acres and will also house retail and restaurant space, as well as services in sports medicine from Mercy Healthcare.

The facility will be located at 750 Casino Center Drive and is expected to open September 2019.