SBD/September 12, 2012/Facilities

Sabres' Pegula Hopes New Development In Downtown Buffalo Transforms City's Image

The project includes two ice rinks, a hotel, parking garage, restaurant and retail space
Sabres Owner Terry Pegula on Monday "talked about his vision" for the new hockey-themed development across from First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo, and said that he "took inspiration from Pittsburgh," according to Jill Terreri of the BUFFALO NEWS. Pegula said, "When I first went to Pittsburgh in the early '70s, it was a dingy steel town and through their sports teams and through a lot of hard work and dedication by people like the mayor and the citizens, they transformed the image of the city." He added, "Just 'cause this is Buffalo doesn't mean it can't happen here, too." Pegula credited Sabres President Ted Black and Chief Development Dir Cliff Benson "with coming up with the concept of the development, which includes a hotel, parking garage, restaurant and retail space." Pegula said, "We always use the term 'a destination to play hockey' for the Buffalo area, so obviously this is going to add to the quote 'aura' of coming here to play if you're a professional player." City officials said that the development "is on track for a March 1 groundbreaking." The parking garage, rinks, restaurant and retail space "are expected to be ready by September 2014, and the hotel is scheduled to be finished by spring 2015." Pegula also has been "thinking about how construction will impact Sabres fans." He said, "I don't know exactly how we minimize the impact while we're doing the construction. I've thought about that quite a bit, if we're going to have fans down here and be playing hockey with the NHL team, but I guess that's something for our planners to do" (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/11).

FRIENDS 'TIL THE END: Pegula on Monday also said that Sabres management and players, who "would be barred from contact during a lockout, would keep their bond if the NHL shuts its doors on the players." Pegula: "That's just a temporary thing. We all know that. If anything happens, there will be no lasting effect after." He added, "I can't tell you anything, just that talks continue. I don't want to lose draft picks." In Buffalo, John Vogl noted the Flames announced recently they "plan to cut the salary of team employees when the lockout commences." Pegula said that the Sabres "have not discussed their employees' wages, which were trimmed during the 2004-05 lockout by previous ownership" (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/11). Pegula said that if there "were to be any sustained work stoppage, he had no plans on cutting the pay of his administrative staff" (AP, 9/10).
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