SBD/January 7, 2014/Facilities

Sabres' Pegula Trying To Help Revive City Of Buffalo With Hockey Academy, HARBORCenter

Pegula's HARBORCenter will include a restaurant and myriad other retail shops
Sabres Owner Terry Pegula is currently "creating a one-of-a-kind Hockey Academy" while building the HARBORCenter in Buffalo, and the project to build both is "as much about trying to rebrand a city as it is about sticks, pucks, and thinking outside the rink," according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Hockey Academy Dir and former NHLer Kevyn Adams said, "Our goal with the Hockey Academy is really to become the development destination for hockey players. ... We want to become the development destination for players and coaches around the world." The "precise theme and shape of the Hockey Academy is, much like the construction project, a work in progress," but it "will open for business full time in 18 months." The entire package is "being built on a parcel of land of less than two acres and will include a five-level parking garage, a sprawling sports-themed restaurant, and myriad other retail shops." The HARBORCenter "with its retail stores and wholesale dreams could be a sizable step forward in gathering up Buffalo’s tired bones." Buffalo "wants to be cool again," and the Pegulas "have the greenbacks and the Zambonis to provide the finish." HARBORCenter President John Koelmel said, "Destination, development, impact. It will be a tremendous facility. It changes the landscape around here. Unfortunately, this (part of the city) has evolved as more of a dead zone, so this is the foundation for what has been an evolving transformation." HARBORCenter "is a start, one with substantial pace, with vision, with promise." The Pegulas' "love of and dedication to hockey cannot be questioned." The Pegulas with the Sabres, the Hockey Academy and the $200M HARBORCenter have "another thick layer of skin in the game." It is "really more than anyone could ask, which is something Buffalo hasn’t said for a very long time" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/5).
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