Construction of Van Kampen Arena for Wellington’s 2012 Global Dressage Festival

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Global Dressage Festival complex at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, viewed from Pierson Road. The about to be constructed Van Kampen covered arena is lower center, below the main outdoor stadium and elevated VIP area.

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, July 30—Equestrian Sport Productions announced Saturday construction of a covered arena and at least one permanent barn of about 100 stalls scheduled to be completed ahead of the 2012 Global Dressage Festival.

The covered arena will be a major feature of the new dressage show grounds that are part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and will be named the Van Kampen Arena in memory of the late investor who established a family legacy of philanthropy and charitable giving.

Mark Bellissimo, Chief Executive Officer of ESP that organizes events at PBIEC, said that the structure is targeted for completion by the end of this year end and will have a riding surface large enough at 200 feet by 350 feet (61x106m) for three full size dressage rings.

Van Kampen Arena will be available for 30 days a year for use by charities and non-profit organizations.

Charities that apply will be selected by a board to include Wellington Equestrian Partners Kim Van Kampen Boyer, Mark and Katherine Bellissimo, Bruce Duchossois, and Caroline Moran.

Construction at the new dressage facility that had already begun, will resume next week after adjustments to the site plan to reflect a change in location for the larger covered structure and an enhanced hospitality area.

The new dressage facility is part of the PBIEC complex that hosts the world famous Winter Equestrian Festival.

The dressage grounds are on 57 acres (23 Ha.) that were the original Palm Beach polo fields that sparked the development of Wellington as the globe’s major winter equestrian destination. The dressage arenas will have the same footing and surfaces as the competition rings at PBIEC that have won praise as among the best in the world.

“We are delighted to name the covered stadium the Van Kampen Arena to honor the late Robert Van Kampen and his family,” Bellissimo said. “Kimberly Boyer, one of his three daughters, has been instrumental in spearheading the WEP dressage effort and she has been an inspiration in her dedication to charitable causes and her love and involvement in dressage on both sides of the Atlantic. The unique structure of this Van Kampen Sponsorship allows us to further connect to the the community and local charitable causes.

Kimberly Boyer is a WEP partner and the owner of Hampton Green Farms in Wellington, Florida, and Fruitport, Michigan, and focuses on breeding, training and competition of P.R.E., Pure Spanish Horses. She is married to Frederic Boyer.

“Frederic and I, and our children, are pleased to work with the Wellington Equestrian Partners in bringing the dream of the Global Dressage Festival and a state-of-the-art dressage facility to Wellington and the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center,” she said.  “We are particularly excited to be involved in the designation of a beautiful covered arena for a significant amount of use by charities and non-profits. For us, this is a win-win proposition which will benefit the equestrian community in general, and which will make a world-class covered arena available at no charge to local and national groups for their functions, fund-raisers, therapeutic classes, camps, clinics, non-profit horse shows, etc.

“At the suggestion of Mark Bellissimo, the new building will be named Van Kampen Arena, in memory of my father who made philanthropy and charitable giving a tradition and a legacy in our family.”

Robert Van Kampen founded an investment banking firm in 1975 that became Van Kampen Funds, a pioneer in the packaging of municipal bonds into unit trusts sold to individual investors with insurance against default. He also amassed one of the largest private collections of rare and antique Bibles in North America that is now owned by the family trust. The trust also owned Hampton Court in Herefordshire, England, a medieval country house converted into a Christian study center which included the Van Kampen garden. The property was sold in 2008. Robert Van Kampen died in 1999 at the age of 60.

In addition to the covered arena, the new dressage facility provides for four 100-stall barns, five outdoor dressage arenas including a stadium arena and a VIP structure. A grass jumping derby course adjoins the dressage facility. A 100-unit condominium hotel and retail plaza are also planned for the site.

The construction of the dressage venue at the polo fields is the second phase of development of PBIEC and follows the re-design and rebuilding of the jumper-hunter grounds with 12 competition arenas, about 100 retailers, and entertainment and hospitality venues centered around the stadium-sized International Arena.

Equestrian Sport Productions, that organizes and manages the horse shows for Wellington Equestrian Partners, has been awarded five international-level CDI dressage competitions over a two-month period in winter in 2012, including two World Cup qualifiers, a CDI3*, a CDI5* and the first dressage Nations Cup in the western hemisphere outside of championship events.