If you went to Atlantis Skateway as much as I did growing up, you might feel a little strange stepping into the building now.
When I went last Friday, the signs of a major overhaul were everywhere, from the rolls of neon-colored carpet stacked next to the rink, to the rink itself — now wood, instead of concrete.
While this is the same place where I went to so many birthday parties as a teen — it’s now very different.
There is new life being breathed into the roller rink by Astro Skate Family Fun Center, a Florida-based chain that swooped in like a rollerskating angel late last year to make sure Greenacres and Palm Beach County didn’t lose a beloved 47-year-old community institution.
- What: Astro Skate of Palm Beach County, formerly Atlantis Skateway
- Where: 3100 Jog Road, Greenacres
Under its new ownership and with pretty much everything new, down to the roller skates and bathroom fixtures, Astro Skate of Palm Beach County will open this month, said general manager Diane Poveda.
“I was just so excited when they said, ‘We’re opening this rink again,'” said Poveda, who previously managed the rink for 16 years when it was Atlantis Skateway.
Rollerskating is in Poveda’s blood. She was raised in roller rinks, and her father Kim was the manager of Atlantis Skateway before her. Some of Kim’s ashes were scattered in front of the rink along Jog Road.
“My heart is here,” she said about her feelings when asked to return as general manager by Christopher Maganias, owner of the Astro Skate chain. “I was like, I can’t not do this.”
Many in Palm Beach County feel the same way about the rink, which when it closed left a roller skate-sized hole in the county: Until Astro Skate opens later this month, the closest rinks are Galaxy Skateway in Davie and the Skate Factory in Vero Beach.
“Everybody is excited,” Poveda said. “They’re ready to skate.”
A fresh start
Part of the allure of Atlantis Skateway was in its nostalgia. For years, it remained the same, a time capsule in an ever-changing and adapting world.
The rental skates were classic brown with orange wheels. The rink was a solid blue painted concrete slab, surrounded by white waist-high walls with a neon orange stripe. Video games lined a wall near the snack bar.
The work undertaken by Astro Skate’s team is ambitious.
“It was ready for some new freshness,” Poveda said.
It started with laying a new, $200,000 wood rink, she said. Over three weeks, a crew laid the rink plank by plank, then covered it with several clear coats to seal it. Another coat will be applied before the grand opening, Poveda said.
The walls were painted black, and Fort Pierce artist Michael Alexander was hired to paint neon, black light-friendly scenes on every wall. Aliens and other outer space creatures grin next to erupting volcanoes, racing spaceships and colorful planets.
“When these lights go down and the black lights come on, it’s just neon for days,” Poveda said. “It’s Astro-nomical,” she added with a laugh.
The snack bar now will serve fresh pizza made from dough, along with classic slushies and snacks.
New, branded carpet is being laid around the rink.
Space is being reserved at the west side of the rink for a bounce house, a staple of Astro Skate rinks, Poveda said.
Poured epoxy neon flooring welcomes visitors at the front door and adds a pop of color around the main booth and into the new shop.
The same poured epoxy floor will light up under black lights as part of a new dance floor in the northeast corner of the building, with a dedicated DJ booth and psychedelic paint schemes including a pair of dancing aliens and a zooming rocketship passing a moon.
Hundreds of new rental skates line black shelves custom built for the space.
Ten TVs will line a wall next to the snack bar, where sports fans can keep up with the latest game.
The bathrooms are being rebuilt. They had been stripped to bare bones, and one had been vandalized, Poveda said.
Even the exterior is getting new life: Instead of the Atlantis Skateway turquoise it has been for nearly five decades, the building will be painted pink, she said.
“For me to see this literally rebuilt from the ground up, it’s been amazing,” she said.
New owner, new life
What is Astro Skate?
The company was founded in 1981 by Maganias’ parents with first rink in Tarpon Springs.
Astro Skate now has six rinks throughout the state. The Palm Beach County location is the seventh.
Maganias is passionate about skating and was aggressive in trying to buy the former Atlantis Skateway, Poveda said.
“He drives to all of his rinks every day,” she said. “It’s so nice to work with and for somebody who just genuinely loves skating.”
According to news reports, the previous owners were reluctant to sell Atlantis Skateway after owning it for 47 years. But rising insurance rates and the pandemic led them to make the difficult decision.
The rink first closed last August after a June 2022 sale for $3.6 million to the Lodnia Group LLC, a corporation with a California address that is owned by a former professional hockey player from Ukraine.
Almost immediately, Maganias was determined to buy the rink to “keep rollerskating alive in Palm Beach County,” Poveda said.
“He’s doing such a great thing for this community,” she said. “He is a go-getter.”
Maganias reached out to the Lodnia Group and convinced them to meet with him. He told them he would make them an offer they wouldn’t be able to refuse, Poveda said.
That offer: $3 million for the building. The Lodnia Group retained the vacant space on the building’s east side.
The deal was under contract in December — with Maganias quipping during the process that it was a Christmas present for the children of Palm Beach County.
Now a new generation of Palm Beach County children gets to experience roller skating, Poveda said.
“It’s going to be really special,” she said.
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