HARBORcenter Project Receives City, State Approval; Awarded Nearly $37M In Tax Breaks
The Sabres have "secured every approval they need" for their HARBORcenter project and are "poised to spend $172.2 million to create a magnet for hockey lovers, complete with indoor ice rinks, a hotel and parking ramp," according to a front-page piece by Terreri & Epstein of the BUFFALO NEWS. The project won nearly $37M "in tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, got approval from the Common Council to purchase the parcel from the city for $2.2 million and received a favorable vote on its design from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp." A ceremonial groundbreaking "will be held when the weather warms up," but Sabres officials said that they "expect to begin construction on March 1 and have the rinks and parking structure open by September 2014." HARBORcenter, financed by the Sabres and team Owner Terry Pegula, will include the NHL's "only three-rink complex and a bridge over Perry Street that will connect to First Niagara Center." Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Sabres officials said that they "believe the project will make Buffalo a regional hockey destination." Plans call for "two NHL-quality skating rinks; a full-service hotel with 200 rooms, possibly affiliated with the Marriott brand; a five-level parking garage with 845 spaces; and 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, as well as a center for excellence to train hockey players and coaches." The Sabres and city officials also have discussed "dedicating a 'certain amount of ice time' for public skating and community events." Under the plan, the hockey facility, to be "located on the sixth and seventh floors, would seat about 2,000 spectators and would include eight locker rooms, concessions, restrooms, a concourse, and administrative and maintenance areas." The team and Pegula in all would spend $149.2M "on construction, plus $10.8 million on equipment and another $10 million on 'soft costs'" (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/20).