Terry Pegula's HARBORcenter Development, LLC's $123 million hockey-themed proposal for the Webster Block promises to be a game changer for the foot of Main Street. The ambitious plan calls for two new ice rinks, (one with seating capacity for at least 1,800 people, and the other with seating capacity for at least 200 people) a hotel, parking ramp, and retail and restaurant space.
"We are proud to be named the preferred developer of the Webster Block," said Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres. "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."
"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," said Mayor Brown.
The HARBORcenter Development project is expected to provide approximately 1,500 construction jobs. Once complete, the facilities are expected to create 350 full-time jobs, and generate $4.1 million in state and local taxes, $48 million over the next ten years.
When all the factors were added up, including the size of the overall $123 million investment and the purchase price for the land, the HARBORcenter Development proposal gained favor. In addition to building the new facilities, the Buffalo Sabres agreed to the following terms:
Pay $2 million for the Webster Block
- Seek city residents for post-construction jobs
- Agreed to use local workforce for construction and meet 25% minority and 5% female hiring goals
- Agreed to 25% minority business and 5% women business enterprise participation goals
- Pay Living Wage for employees of ice rink and parking ramp
- Attain the highest reasonable environmental standards for building
- Expand parking in the building to make attendance at Canalside events more convenient for the public
- Construct a facility that attracts new hockey-themed events/tournaments, and creates new opportunities for other special events
- Committed to public, community and youth hockey use
There are some other details emerging. What has been called a 'skybridge' connecting the complex to First Niagara Center appears to be misleading. The complex will be built over Perry Street creating a tunnel (see Central Library, One HSBC Center) according to a video shown during the project presentation (screen caps below, full video here).
Delaware North is expected to be involved in a planned sports bar and restaurant. The Tim Horton's at the corner of Main and Perry would be unique to the chain by celebrating Sabres' history. New Era is considering opening a store in the complex. The Delaware Avenue flagship store would remain open.
HARBORcenter Development also committed to the start of construction in March 2013, with the projected completion of the parking ramp, retail and ice rinks by the beginning of the 2014 Buffalo Sabres Hockey Season. The hotel is projected to be completed by spring of 2015. The Buffalo Common Council is expected to consider selling the parcel to the developer on September 4.