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Rink to close as city approves permit change

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The days of teens whizzing around the rink at Showtime Skating on weekends with loud music in the background are about to come to an end.

The indoor roller rink in Northland Plaza soon will be turned into a storage unit business.

On Monday night, the Watertown City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit for the change of businesses in the 22,000-square-foot storefront at 144 Eastern Blvd.

Plaza owner Randall B. Soggs said he doesn’t know when the skating rink will close. It remains open on weekends.

“We have no timetable,” he said, saying the closing depends on when the city’s code enforcement office has completed building plans for the storage units.

On Tuesday, code enforcement officials said Mr. Soggs had not yet applied for a building permit.

Some teens have complained about the pending end to the skating rink, since it would leave a void for them to do something on weekends.

In 2009, former owner Isaac Alexis III, a retired master sergeant at Fort Drum, opened Showtime Skating with his wife, Darla L. The couple, who previously ran a rink in Roswell, N.M., moved away about 18 months ago, Mr. Brown said.

Showtime Skating lets customers rent a pair of skates, play skee ball, air hockey and several arcade games, and snack on pizza and other foods at a concession stand.

Birthday and private parties also are held in a dedicated section.

Showtime Skating will be the second recently shuttered business that caters to teens and young people.

Velocity, the family fun center and music venue in Empsall Plaza on Court Street, closed in July.

Plans for the new business call for having a walk-in lobby, keeping existing restrooms and turning the remainder of the space into storage space.

There is a growing trend of storefronts and warehousing facilities being turned into storage units in urban settings, said Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and urban development coordinator.

The plaza owner needs a special-use permit because the city’s commercial district does not include storage unit businesses, he said.

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