Sabres to build ice hockey complex in downtown Buffalo

The city of Buffalo has selected a proposal from the Buffalo Sabres NHL franchise to develop an ice hockey-themed entertainment and retail complex on the city’s waterfront.

31 August 2012 Michael Long
SHARE THIS ARTICLE

The city of Buffalo has selected a proposal from the Buffalo Sabres NHL franchise to develop an ice hockey-themed entertainment and retail complex on the city’s waterfront.

After receiving two proposals, one from the Sabres, through its development arm HARBORcenter Development LLC, and another from Ellicott Development, in July, Buffalo mayor Byron Brown announced Wednesday that the ice hockey team’s plan to redevelop the Webster Block in downtown Buffalo had been accepted by a selection committee and community representatives.

The Sabres’ US$123 million project, called Harbor Center, will include a hotel, retail space, including a New Era flagship store and Tim Hortons restaurant, parking, a fitness centre and two ice rinks, one with seating capacity for at least 1,800 people and the other with seating capacity for at least 200 people. Both will become state-of-the-art training facilities for players of all ages.

The Sabres' will stump up US$2 million to purchase the Webster Block, a 1.7 acre city-owned site located directly across from the team's First Niagara Center home. The contract dictates that the project must break ground by 1st March 2013. The parking facility and ice rinks must be open no later than 30th September 2014, while construction of the entire complex is slated for completion in the spring of 2015.

“This is an exciting day for downtown Buffalo and its waterfront,” said mayor Brown. “I want to thank HARBORcenter Development LLC and the Buffalo Sabres for putting before us a remarkable proposal that will re-make this prime piece of city-owned land, and bring tremendous economic impact to the community.”

The proposal, put forward in conjunction with Populous and Mortenson Construction, expects the complex to attract 500,000 visitors each year, create 350 full-time permanent jobs and generate US$4.1 million in state and local taxes, or US$48 million over the next ten years.

Sabres owner Terry Pegula said: “We are proud to be named the preferred developer of the Webster Block. This project will further enhance the current development at Canalside and in the process, create a destination attraction to draw hundreds of thousands of people to Buffalo’s waterfront on a yearly basis. Canalside has seen a rebirth the past few years and we expect our project to act as a catalyst for future development on the waterfront.”

HARBORcenter Development – Buffalo