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Construction Watch: HARBORcenter

Heavy construction
equipment has rolled onto the Webster Block in front of the First Niagara
Center, where construction crews are set to begin work on Terry Pegula’s
$175 million multipurpose facility, HARBORcenter. Fences line the
parcel while a portion of Lower Main Street has been closed off
to accommodate the massive project.

Sabres Director of Communications Mike Gilbert told WKBW: “We got all of the
approvals last week and we hit the ground running. By April you will see cranes
in the air here. I think people that don’t come down here on a regular basis,
when they do and they see it they’re going to say wow.”

 

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HARBORcenter will include
800 parking spaces topped by two enclosed hockey rinks, retail space, and
a 200-room hotel.  The ice rinks and parking ramp are both expected
to open in September 2014 with the hotel following in spring 2015. 


Harbor Center New.jpg

In addition to the
HARBORcenter, construction can be seen in several directions as crews
continue work at One Canalside, the Aud Block canals, and most recently, the
East Canal park which will also begin taking shape this month, located between One
Canalside and HARBORcenter developments. 


IMG_27990.JPG

And, just down the street, Ellicott Development Corp. has plans for another major development fronting the entrance to the Erie Basin Marina. Ellicott’s proposal for “The Carlo” took a step forward last week when the company was given designated-developer status for the City-owned land needed for the $75 million project.


The Carlo.jpg&maxW=602&maxH=602&AlignV=top&Q=jpg

Canalside and Harbor renderings finals.jpg

 

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  • newskylinebuffalo

    By the looks of it, I’d say Buffalo is making a comeback!

  • Irish Dave

    Love it all! I’ve long since moved away, but from my mother sending me articles in the mail to the coming of the web, I’ve been following the progress on the waterfront since I was a teenager in the 80s. It’s been so slow, but finally we’ve got momentum and its super cool.
    Too bad Paladino’s building looks like something in an Amherst office park, but maybe thats OK?
    Getting all the buildings populated by people on days that don’t have sabres games will be the trick, but it will gain momentum with the Harborcenter hockey patrons who want to eat or shop while the kids are at practice. The work crowd too.
    The other key population is the coming Medical Campus/UB med school commuter crowd. I like the idea in the Buffalo News last week of funneling them through the foot of main street via a parking ramp and light rail extension to it and turning part of the upper floor of the DL&W into a metro station. But the parking ramp should be Connected to the DL&W somehow. The best idea would be to have commuters drive on the thruway to the parking ramp, get out of your car, walk into the big metro station that’s filled with market stalls etc, buy a coffee and something for lunch, then hop on the light rail and ride up main street to work at the medical campus. But the way the Buffalo News reported it, the plan has people drive to a big parking ramp a few blocks away, and the extended light rail would pick people up AT the parking ramp and then they would just stay on the light rail, not get off at the DL&W station and just continue on to work up main street. You need people to get off at the DL&W Stop! The commuters should HAVE to buzz around the big market area/metro station while they wait for the metro rail. Its not making the commuters trip any more complicated, it’s just moving their stop closer to where the action could be.
    Maybe, if we’re lucky, it gets so crowded that people actually leave the DL&W and walk ON FOOT through canalside, past the Harborcenter, the Philips LYtle/Marriot, passing by other people, a few shops etc to the next metro station. And we have an actual urban environment with people moving THRU the city streets instead of just being transported from spot to spot?

  • Texpat

    This is great. Can anyone say they have ever seen any project happen this quickly in Buffalo?

  • hamp

    There is a downside to moving so quickly.
    The Sabres have muscled their way to getting zoning relief and the approvals they need. This happened with very little public process, and is resulting in them taking over part of Washington Street, and building part of Harbor Center over Perry Street, blocking the existing visual connection between the Cobblestone District and Canalside.
    Nice to see the huge private investment. But the project would have benefited from more discussion. It would have taken longer. But I believe we would have gotten a better building.

  • brownteeth

    If it weren’t private money I would tend to agree with you. But they paid fair market value for the property, and are investing more private money for this project than any other in Buffalo’s history. I’d say that deserves a certain amount of flexibility. We can discuss design and use issues for years and never agree on it completely. I for one do not play hockey but it’s not about just me.
    Like the casino down the street, it’s being built fast whether we like it or not. If we had another half dozen projects going up this fast down there the density and mixed uses would eventually be larger than the sum of its parts. Some may not like this particular project but it may pave the way for one they do, such as Paladino’s two blocks west or a new concert venue or something yet to be disclosed.

  • CindyLee

    TWO thumbs up… can we have a setting for TWO thumbs up!? Hope someone reads that. Good Job Irish Dave 🙂

  • GiveMeThe Rock

    The site lines. We have lost the site lines for ever. Let’s get on our unsafe, green magic bus.

  • suburban_hillbilly

    Great point. Harborcenter and The Carlo are largely private investment which makes this an even better story. Another thing worth mentioning is that between Harborcenter, The Carlo, and the Donovan Bldg, three new hotels are opening near the casino, rather than the Seneca’s opening a hotel themselves. This is better for local tax revenue generation as the same taxes would not have been paid by the Seneca hotel. I know others have mentioned the concern for a “hotel bubble” but hopefully the new hockey venue and canalside will be a significant enough draw to increase the demand for the new supply of hotel rooms. Someone should put a big “let’s go Buffalo” sign down near the canal, not necessarily cheering on a team, but the city itself. Good stuff.

  • The Boss

    There was a time when this sort of developement was unthinkable, and just plans like these became a joke, now it is happening. Toss in the Ohio Parkway, which also IS going to happen, Outer Harbor Parkway and trails,Tishman & Lafayette, Avant, Larkin District and Medical Campus…my goodness.

  • sabres77

    Next in line….Downtown NFL Stadium.

  • JSmith

    Private money should still not be allowed to deck over a street. (And it’s not all private money, either.)
    I don’t have much of an issue with any of the rest of the design, but covering a street is never a good idea (refer to HSBC Center, Central Library, etc.).

  • Shoey

    I don’t see how they were going to avoid covering the street in the construction of the HSBC tower. As much as it isn’t ideal… the simple fact is that it is sometimes necessary.

  • 300miles

    They can avoid building over a street by not planning to build over a street. It’s not a complicated concept.

  • rb09

    Yes, more discussion and less action… Just what Buffalo needs.
    :/

  • Jay D

    They want it connected to FN Center to make it one big complex. I really dont think it’s going to be as big a deal as people think. The street will still be drivable/walkable.

  • rb09

    NHL all-star game in Buffalo… !

  • Up and coming

    “Never let perfect be the enemy of good”

  • ccbuffalo

    to hamp…..you are the downside

  • Up and coming

    How much is actually private money, Ive heard utility relocations cost of 2 million? And you cant count the tax credits as “public money”. So you have a 170 million dollar privately funded project, which has a 1.3 percent kick back from the Govt….god forbid.

  • Up and coming

    I’ve heard that’s one of Pegula’s main “goals”, no pun intended.

  • LouisTully

    Sure, that would be great; but I’d rather have another Frozen Four.

  • Slu

    All of this progress is great. As much as I dislike the rink covered parking garage, in looking at the big picture, the amount of progress that has been made recently is amazing. And I do like that Carl’s project was able to be relocated to another area. That addresses one of my main wishes – more residential downtown. That is the a big part of the equation that needs to be addressed if this is to ever turn into a vibrant urban environment. I can only hope all of these developements spur more residential developement downtown.

  • Shoey

    That building takes up 2 entire city blocks, the complex was always going to have to cover the street. If the city refused to allow the covering of Main street it seems incredibly likely that HSBC would have just moved on and put all that office space in another city.
    It’s easy to show ire towards it now, but 1970s Buffalo didn’t really have the luxury to refuse development of that magnitude.

  • Old First Ward

    I attended that last one in Buffalo at the Aud. But remember, it is an event that you will only see once every 20 to 30 years so essentially it is a one off.

  • brownteeth

    Sure they could come up with a better design for the pedestrian bridge (perhaps they will?), but as a whole this project is a home run. It’s privately funded, a local and tourist draw, infills a very large surface lot, provides much needed parking, etc.

  • hamp

    Agreed!

  • 300miles

    That attitude is a real problem with Buffalo… thinking that you have to bend over and grab your ankles to prevent developers from fleeing to the hinterlands. This city needs a backbone. HSBC didn’t build over Main St because it was a necessity. It also would not have fled buffalo simply because it couldn’t build over top of Main street. That’s ridiculous. The building was built over Main St because the designers liked it that way and was part of the pedestrian mall plans. It was a mistake – especially now since the pedestrian mall is going away. The sabres connecting buildings isn’t as big a problem, but it’s still a bad idea, and completely unnecessary.

  • Buffaloian

    I would like to see Paladino try to replicate or rework his original design for the Webster block for his Erie Basin Marina proposal. The Carlo looks terrible, whereas his Webster block design was quite nice with the brick arched windows and garage screening. I liked the design better than Pegula’s HARBORcenter but Pegula’s building function was and is the clear winner for Webster.

  • sobuffbillsfan

    What is the ideal city? Annapolis, Savannah, perhaps a quaint Vermont village? Sometimes I feel the push here is for high density low scale, which maybe cool for Elmwood, but this is downtown! We want to be the commercial center of WNY, upstate NY, and a junction of trade for the US and Canada, not a just a trendy neighborhood.
    This really splitting hairs and taking a counter productive stance. You should never ever build over a street regardless of the benefits or point of the project?
    I also think that there is actually a lot of evidence over the past 50 years in Buffalo that if you don’t bend some corporations, developers and people are going to take their ball and go to another city or town.

  • No_Illusions

    There are some charming arcades in Europe that proves you wrong.
    Functionality is just as important if not more so than aesthetics. Sometimes you can have both.
    “Never ever” is very restrictive. There are always unique problems with urban design that require clever solutions that are not always “best practices.” Is that the case with the Harborcenter? Maybe not, but you should really stop being so restrictive.

  • No_Illusions

    I don’t think it looks horrible, it just looks out of place. It would look great next to something just as foreboding like the M&T Tower.

  • Old First Ward

    If it is not public money then what is it? A corporate slush fund?

  • 300miles

    “You should never ever build over a street regardless of the benefits or point of the project?”
    No, I wouldn’t make a universal rule like that. Of course it depends on the location and how it’s used. Building on top of main st with HSBC was very bad because it essentially terminated downtown at that point. Even though the street continued underneath it was largely inaccessible due to traffic closure and bank security. The views down Main to the waterfront were completely cut off. Visitors on Main St have no clue that the Lake is right down the street because you can’t see it anywhere. Walking underneath the HSBC building is a barren wasteland of concrete. The location is a failure in so many ways.
    The decking from HarboCenter to the Arena won’t be nearly as horrible simply because it’s not Main St and not in the heart of downtown. But still it could have the affect of cutting views and cutting off canalside from cobblestone. Especially at a time when they’re trying to link these two areas.

  • whatever

    This looks very untrue to me – like total false b.s.
    hamp>“blocking the existing visual connection between the Cobblestone District and Canalside”
    Right now – before HarborCenter – there is no existing such visual connection along Perry St.
    Here’s Google street view from around 48 Perry St facing west
    http://goo.gl/maps/JoUB9
    Doesn’t that view look like total crap?
    The HSBC Atrium is on the right (north) and First Niagara Center on the left (south).
    I’ve no idea if a few people including hamp & Tielman keep saying a worthwhile-saving view would be blocked by the HarborCenter bridge because they really believe it or just to have something to complain about.
    If there was currently a view which shouldn’t be lost, wouldn’t TT have brought a huge photo of such view to the public meetings, and provide it to the BN and BR, AV, etc.?
    All we hear is words about this alleged view. Why no image of it? Because it’s fiction?

  • whatever

    But 300, what views specifically?
    “But still it could have the affect of cutting views and cutting off canalside from cobblestone.”
    If you want to forbid a particular bridge, shouldn’t you have to show what the particular view is in question – not just refer vaguely to views as a general concept?
    Am I missing the point you guys are making about any particular views the HC bridge would block?
    Can you link to any photos, or something with street view, etc?
    It can’t be this view, can it? http://goo.gl/maps/JoUB9

  • LouisTully

    If that’s the type of water view we’re trying to build a district with, then we have some big problems. Any structure built is going to obstruct something, so we better just not build anything and leave it the way it is…………………………………………..

  • whatever

    Yep LT, that’s my point.
    Unless these folks Tielman/hamp/300/etc are referring to some other view they haven’t identified yet as far as I know, I don’t even think even a drop of water is viewable or visible now from Perry St east of where the HarborCenter’s bridge would be.
    But if I’m wrong, they or anyone can correct me by pointing out what I’m not noticing.

  • townline

    It looks horrible

  • hamp

    Well, actually you’re right. More discussion gives better results. That’s how we got Canalside.

  • hamp

    Well, I think the photo proves my point. There is a view, and there is a definite connection to the waterfront. The connection and the view will both be severely compromised by this building.
    Thanks.

  • whatever

    You’re welcome.
    The current view to which I linked is ugly at worst or very ordinary at best – already blocked on the left&right (north&south) by the large buildings of First Niagara Center & HSBC Atrium.
    In between those is a very narrow portion of the land (not even river or lake) at Canalside, along with a few tops of Outer Harbor trees.
    A totally crappy non-water view, blockage of which won’t be any big problem at all. Perhaps that’s why your side of the argument has been using words instead of photos?

  • LouisTully

    Gimme a break. The view is of the road leading to the Coast Guard station. I think the sun is still gonna rise tomorrow…
    If you’re talking about being able to see the mouth of the river then your problem should be with the building, not the bridge. But even a one story building is gonna block your street view.

  • hamp

    You are not familiar with the history of the HSBC building. It was built by Buffalo-based Marine Midland Bank. There is no way Marine Midland would leave downtown at the time the building was built.
    One Marine Midland Center was designed by SOM, one of the best corporate architects of the day. A very highly regarded firm (more than it is now ).
    The building was designed to straddle the Main Street in order to give it more prominence, and to show off some unique engineering . It was completed well before the pedestrian mall was built.

  • hamp

    Good planning would suggest never closing off a street, and never building over a street (sky bridges excepted).

  • Old First Ward

    How about sunsets? After 4:00 it will be windy and shady on Washington St.
    I can just see the excited tourists now standing at the corner:
    “Hey what is that building?” Oh it’s our new parking ramp.
    “Well what is that on top?” It’s our new hockey rink.
    “Well what is that on top at the other end?” It’s our other new hockey rink.
    “Well what is in that big building at the end, the one with the front and name blocked?” It’s our big hockey rink.
    “Do they play hockey in July?” No they melt the ice and play on roller skates.
    “I want to shop where can I go?” They sell hockey pucks over there, you can buy a jersey over there, you can get your skates sharpened over there.
    “But I’m hungry.” They sell donuts over there. If you wait a few hours the taco truck will come by.

  • hamp

    I don’t need photos. I’m very familiar with this area.

  • hamp

    It’s not just about the water. It’s a view toward the waterfront. When you are walking down Perry you currently have the sense that there is something to walk towards. This will be gone.
    And this will make the waterfront LESS accessible, and LESS inviting to people approaching from Perry Street.

  • sobuffbillsfan

    OK fair enough, I thought it sounded like that what you where sort of suggesting.
    I guess since i was a kid I was always impressed with the engineering aspect of HSBC straddling Main st. I also like how it does make the skyline continuous. Bad planning, maybe, but i think the 190 and mess of roads there is a bigger detriment to that immediate area.
    On another note is the lot in the middle of that large round I190 ramp privately owned? I’ve alway thought it could be cool if someone built up through that.

  • LouisTully

    … not even worth responding to anymore.

  • whatever

    ofw>“How about sunsets?”
    OFW, here’s current view from around 100 Washington St facing due west.
    http://goo.gl/maps/YG3g8
    The building at the left is First Niagara Center.
    The HSBC Atruim building is directly behind the viewer from here.
    Looking out over the Webster Block’s current parking lot, a sunset would be visible but no water (nor any attractive aspect of a waterfront – despite hamp’s claim).
    Does anyone feel a sunset view would be nice from the view in that link?
    What would make it nice?
    Ever allowing any building at all on the Webster Block, even something 1 story high and with no bridge over Perry, would block sunsets for pedestrians there, yes – but it seems a not great place for sunset viewing.
    Or if you meant a little more north on Washington, here’s a view from the intersection with Scott St, also facing west toward sunset direction
    http://goo.gl/maps/1n5c1
    Again, no water visible, and no attractive aspect of a waterfront visible… seems pretty craptastic currently, no?

  • whatever

    I don’t see in current view any hint of a waterfront or anything interesting to walk toward which would be blocked by an overhead bridge across Perry…
    http://goo.gl/maps/JoUB9
    What’s visible now now facing that way which indicates a waterfront but won’t be visible if the bridge is there?
    Some green of Outer Harbor tree tops could still be visible under the bridge (until or unless even those are ever blocked by buildings on Canalside parcels some day – eventually those might not be visible within that narrow left/right gap even if a bridge isn’t there).
    And how is this part true about access?
    hamp>“this will make the waterfront LESS accessible”
    Won’t people still be able to walk (or even drive) westward on Perry St past the HarborCenter and under the bridge which connects overhead to First Niagara Center?

  • LouisTully

    Was Tielman’s plan or Ellicott’s any less obstructive of water-related views? The only way to keep the Webster block from “obstructing” views is to… leave it an empty lot. Even something less imposing or set back or one story is going to obstruct some kind of view. And if it was set back from the curb… you’d have complaints of build-it-to-the-curb.

  • Tim

    I agree with those who think that, ideally, streets should not be covered over so drastically. I personally can’t explain it, it just doesn’t feel/look right. In this case though it looks like it was the only way to fit two hockey rinks together on the parcel(?), which was the whole point of the project. It’s obviously not something worth obstructing an otherwise great project for, in this case, just an ideal.

  • nyc

    Buffalo has long been giving up its public right of ways with little to show for it. this isn’t something new, this is exacltly how you deconstruct your city in fits of desperation because you think that if you don’t let it happen everyone will leave town. Buffalo is the starving man that instead of finding through effort or ingenuity a way to quench his hunger he instead starts knawing on his arm. And here we will have yet another bloody mess.

  • LouisTully

    I think referring to this as a bloody mess is a bit dramatic. Giving Michigan Avenue to General Mills is ‘g’nawing off your arm. This is hardly as severe a concession.

  • whatever

    True, Tim – if anyone argued against allowing the bridge over Perry on an intangible just-doesn’t-feel/look-right basis, that can’t be refuted except to not share the feeling or not prioritize it.
    But more tangible claims about a waterfront view being blocked even while the current view is already blocked by FN Center (or claims of ‘access’ being blocked even if all streets will remain open), that becomes open to objective questioning.
    And as for sunsets being blocked from Washington Street – as LT pointed out, that would’ve happened even with Tielman’s suggested 10-story hotel or Paladino’s proposal, so for that it becomes difficult to see what’s being advocated short of leaving the Webster Block empty.
    (If not for seeing OldFirstWard’s previous comments on BR against the HarborCenter, I’d have thought the Washington St sunset comments in this thread were sarcasm.)

  • whatever

    nyc – I’m just curious what public rights-of-way are you implying would be given up for this?
    No streets are being closed off for HarborCenter.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2013/02/12/sabres-say-harborcenter-cost-rises-to.html?page=all
    ‘… The planning board, among its actions, approved a land disposition agreement that will allow for slivers of Washington, Main and Perry streets to be “abandoned” for a portion of the project. All three streets will remain open to traffic, with only parking lanes abandoned. …’

  • Old First Ward

    Take a look at the second picture just under the thread title at the top. The one with the fence across Main St. with barricades that says “Road Closed”
    But he may be referring to the permanent closure of Scott St. west of Washington St. starting at the Buffalo News.

  • whatever

    ofw, temporary closures for construction aside, didn’t you write something inaccurate to say this?
    OFW>“But he may be referring to the permanent closure of Scott St. west of Washington St. starting at the Buffalo News.”
    http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130205/CITYANDREGION/130209533&template=printart
    “The larger footprint the Sabres are acquiring will expand slightly into Scott Street but won’t affect the actual street or right of way there, said Corporation Counsel Timothy A. Ball. “
    Who has their facts wrong – you or the reporter Ms. Terreri?
    Just asking.

  • Up and coming

    And in other news HAMP, you could always just walk to Main St side of this building and keep you precious view. PS if people in NYC cared as much as you do about waterfront view from every part of the city I bet it would still be filled with Dutch farms.

  • Travelrrr

    This is a total embarrassment.

  • Jay D

    Seriously tho, what “views” are you talking about??? You wont be able to see the Skyway from Perry Street?

  • Jay D

    Youre so right. I can hear the tourists now….”Hey, lets go hang out on Perry Street and watch the sunset!!! Wait, what the hell? Why is this awesome building in the way? How dumb! Never coming back to Buffalo again!!!”

  • Shoey

    You’re right, I had completely overlooked that the tower wasn’t always occupied by HSBC. This completely invalidates all of my previous arguments.

  • nyc

    yeah it is a bit dramatic but i think i am just tired of seeing this happen over and over again. Overall this is a good project but i just do not understand why nobody in the city has the balls to stand up and say “no you can’t do that”. The city bends over every which way for this stuff..like:
    1. giving fulton street to the senecas because they threatened they’d be forced to build an “urban casino” if not..
    2. giving paladino mohawk place for private parking eliminating potential public street parking that would support small businesses on the 500 block
    3. letting benderson put a hotel drop off and turn around on the east canal.. a several million dollar public investment that is intended to have retail and restuarant frontage…not its just a super fancy drop off.
    4. letting the sabres build a mammoth parking garage that hangs over perry street and infringing on washington by 18′.
    5. and now the carlo…it sits on the alignment for bridge access to the outer harbor.. is the city intending to kill that option or do they know what they are doing?
    6. Nevermind the countless public space give-a-ways in the past..They Hyatt, Main Place Mall, convention center.. I just do not think any of these has been beneficial to downtown. Making streets and circulation less hospitable in the name of development is one way the city gnaws at itself in its hunger for development…the results are never good.

  • nyc

    right “parking lanes eliminated”
    thank you for pointing that out.

  • whatever

    You’re welcome, no prob.
    I like parking lanes in general, but wouldn’t think removal of any equates to lessening of access when a street is otherwise left as is…
    especially if it’s true that there will be end up being somewhat of a surplus of parking around there anyway.

  • whatever

    hamp>“closing off a street”
    But for HarborCenter, isn’t it true that no streets are being closed off?

  • brownteeth

    You’re really grasping at straws here my friend. Seriously? blocking the sunset? I must have forgot about all those tourists that set up lawn chairs on the sidewalk in front of HSBC atrium every night to watch the sunset. I also forgot people don’t actually hang out one block west on the boardwalk that has both direct views of the water and sunset. This silly notion of having buildings in our downtown core is so passe’.

  • biniszkiewicz

    I’m one of your few up-votes. This project’s speed does make it look a bit like: Ready! Shoot! Aim!

  • nyc

    street parking provides accessibility, the perception of accessibility, the protection of pedestrians against moving traffic, the provision of loading zones for adjacent businesses…a street has many functions. And this isn’t a huge grip of mine, just consistent with the careless approach the city takes with these projects and it gives away public assets.

  • nyc

    Hello..in reference to New York City, you could NEVER build harbor center as proposed. View corridors are defined along all public right-a-ways leading to the water. You can not build anything that infringes upon that view corridor…you can’t even plant trees within 15′ of the centerline of it. You definitely could not put a massive parking garage over the street.

  • rb09

    Some discussion is good.
    Too much discussion and analysis is crippling…
    Buffalo seems to cripple itself by not getting past discussion and analysis.
    Now, lets get these projects completed and move on to the next ones !

  • PaulBuffalo

    Don’t forget the NYC community groups that can comment, too.

  • 300miles

    It’s more than just what specifically is on the other side (which is canalside in this case), it’s also the visual cue that the street or the district ends there. Decking over the street gives the feeling of boxing-in the area. It’s not as bad as an actual wall, but it still is a way of separating two areas.
    It’s probably more important in areas with outside visitors and tourists because they don’t necessarily know what’s on the other side.
    Every view towards canalside and the waterfront should be open to allow potential views of the water and canals, the people, the concerts, tall ships, sunsets, etc… anything and everything that could draw people to what is supposed to be our tourist destination. Cutting off any view or boxing in cobblestone with airbridges just goes towards defeating that potential.

  • whatever

    300 – ok but for viewing from Perry St, doesn’t the Canalside plan itself violate the following you wrote?
    “Every view towards canalside and the waterfront should be open to allow potential views of the water and canals, the people, the concerts, tall ships, sunsets, etc… “
    Water & canals aren’t visible from Perry anyway regardless of bridge or no bridge, but I’ll leave that in because it’s the same point either way.
    Aren’t buildings planned (at least hoped for?) in that portion of Canalside which would block the view from Perry of “the water and canals, the people, the concerts, tall ships, sunsets, etc”?
    Those on page 4 in here, to left of Webster Block
    http://www.eriecanalharbor.com/pdf/MuseumOperatorRFP.pdf
    Won’t those 2 unspecified buildings (hoped for commercial development?) – the brown shapes, a 4-sided one on Prime St and a 5-sided one on Main, be at least 2 or 3 stories tall?
    If even those buildings in the award-winning Tielman-approved Canalside plan itself would also block the same west-looking view (of Outer Harbor tree tops, or a tall ship passing by, sunsets, concerts, etc) from people on Perry St anyway…
    then how important can that view be?
    Why would an awesome plan intend to eventually block it?
    How can you guys say it’s fine if or when those future hypothetical buildings would block a view from Perry St of trees, concerts, sunsets – but it’s unacceptable if the HarborCenter’s bridge proactively blocks the same view?

  • nyc

    man you do your research. but the real point is, beyond this “you can or can not see the water” business is that building over a street is always bad practice especially when the section over the street is low and predominately parking. It impacts the public street in a negative way and is characteristic of the city’s attitude towards its streets and public spaces. If they removed the parking portion over the street and just left the high, rink portion, i’d be fine with it. But including the parking makes the overhang low and uninviting and severs the two sides of the waterfront – canalside from the cobblestone district. It’s bad news and not debatable. Feel free to have your opinion though.

  • saltecks

    Not always true. The Javits Center is built across 4 or 5 city blocks and cuts the views to the water.

  • nyc

    it’s true that historically there have been blocks cut up and streets removed – back in the day. Its a trademark of the era of urban renewal and the mega block. As designed that project would never get built now.

  • LouisTully

    I’m sorry. But just like telling preservationists it’s time to reload and reengage the next project, it is time to focus on the next task at hand. There are small battles to be won, sure. But, all-in-all, this project is full steam ahead. I’ll be playing some bar league here in 2 years and having a dozen Blues after and toasting to my mates that this fantastic project was completed.

  • The Boss

    More discussion is also why it took us 50 years to get canalside

  • The Boss

    whatever brings up a really good point…the land between Main St (under skyway west towards the boardwalk is planned to have multi-story buildings on it, that pretty much will block any views from east of Main.

  • Old First Ward

    Would you be so enthusiastic about this project if the venues above the five story parking garage were basketball courts instead of hockey rinks? I highly doubt it. You and many others would have viewed it from a much different perspective.
    Don’t be so sure that rinks will be for “bar leagues.” As soon as some goof starts pounding down beers then hits the ice and starts fighting will end that forever if it even gets that far.

  • LouisTully

    You’re comical. Like, you’re funny. Because you have no idea what you’re talking about.
    To answer your question, I would still think it’s a better project than ED’s. Though, basketball courts don’t command quite the attention or create the same draw, considering there are basketball courts all over the place… and ice time is at a premium in WNY.
    And to respond to your comment I’ll just say: why don’t you come on out to a bar league game when it opens and see how much fun people have when they don’t let their miserable attitude get in the way.
    “As soon as some goof starts pounding down beers then hits the ice and starts fighting will end that forever if it even gets that far. ”
    Where has this happened? How come every rink, perhaps except Dann Memorial, has bar leagues if your concern is so valid? The Metro at Buff State has a rep as a scrappy league and they don’t cut it there.

  • JazzFan

    Unfortunately for basketball fans, Buffalo is not an NBA city. If it still was, my guess is that the project might have included basketball courts too. If the owner of the arena was an NBA guy and they were the number one tenant – probably moreso.
    The fact is that hockey is the main function at the FNC, the Sabres are in control, Terry Pegula is paying the bulk of the costs and the theme of the new build is hockey – a sport that is embraced by a huge number of WNYorkers. Sorry for the NBA fans, or college basketball or tennis or whatever.
    Not sure what else you might be implying with your comment……

  • LouisTully

    Also, you know ED’s proposal had an even BIGGER parking garage with offices above it, something so plentiful in Buffalo there are many that sit vacant creating zero tax revenue or activity.
    My question: would you still be such a cry-baby if it were offices above an even larger parking garage instead of the winning proposal?

  • whatever

    boss, thanks.
    nyc – thanks too, but seems fact not opinion that the Canalside plan diagrams themselves include buildings which would block the same view from Perry St.
    (maybe those buildings won’t happen if Canalside doesn’t draw enough private investment – but it’s in the plan, the award winning one, the one Tielman & Esmonde praise, the one some people didn’t like to see Cuomo taking credit for…)
    The opinion part is it seems strange how the west-facing view from Perry St is suddenly a big objection about HarborCenter but hasn’t been a complaint from Tielman or you guys about the Canalside plan.
    Or was that same complaint made about it and I just didn’t know?
    If you say the same complaints have been ongoing about the Canalside plan on behalf preserving a view from Perry St, I’ll take your word for it.
    But is anyone really saying that?

  • nyc

    it’s not about the view to the water. there’s massive confusion here..nobody is complaining about buildings built on parcels of land designated for development blocking views to the water. and don’t list 10 quotes from different posts trying to prove otherwise…because i don’t know what to tell ya, its just not the issue.
    the concern is for buildings bulging over or onto public rights of way that block your terminal view down the street as well as the sky and create an inhospitable environment beneath creating a psychological barrier and a zone that is proven over and over in urban enviroments as a failure.
    And the stupidity here is that they don’t even need the parking spaces they are providing over the street – those parking spaces are getting built to help alleviate parking pressures elsewhere. How freaking stupid to sacrifice the quality of public spaces on the waterfront because the medical campus will be short of parking. AND then they wipe out any opportunity for public parking along any of the surrounding streets. you could probably add 100 parallel parking spaces ringing that building…and street parking is critical here. People have a gut negative reaction to pulling into a garage if they can find street parking.. it’s convenient and the thought that they might find a space is a huge incentive to drive down with the intent to walk around or shop or what have you. It’s bad planning on multiple fronts and a shame we couldn’t get this right.
    I do recognize that this is a huge private investment and in the long run will likely be a good thing but there is no public leadership in buffalo on these issues. NONE.

  • Old First Ward

    That is the question to you. You are thrilled about the project because it involves hockey and beer. If it was something that didn’t interest you would you be for it?
    Personally, I don’t care about the rinks, if it is an appealing structure with a good design, fit, and symmetry along use of materials that appeal to the historic nature of the area, then I am on board. But this project is bad for this location for many reasons. Don Esmonde waited too long to cast his criticisms for his column. At least he came out and let everyone know this is a bad design and location.
    Here is something else to think about. You criticize the Senecas, but how is Pegula any different than the Senecas? He has the main venue the Arena. That by itself is a monopoly. Now add the additional parking (which takes away the surface lot business), the hotel (which steals customers from the other hotels for himself) and the two rinks (which takes a lot of business from the suburban rinks especially if he books a lot of of suburban stuff down here) Maybe he will add a nice big bar and take business from Pearl St. and the Cobblestone. It is nice to have more money than your competitors, and friends in city hall.

  • GiveMeThe Rock

    First Ward: I like the project because you don’t like it.

  • LouisTully

    “would you be for it? ”
    I already answered that the last time you asked it.
    I hope you don’t lose sleep over this. Because there’s really nothing you or your hero Donnie Esmonde can do to stop it. I’m very happy you don’t like the project. Otherwise I might have to be near you.

  • whatever

    nyc – first, I didn’t keep saying that you guys are saying it’s about water.
    I said it at first a few days ago as the initial point, then only pointed it out again yesterday replying to 300miles’ mentioning (in general) of water & canals.
    Otherwise I said non-water stuff (trees) visible now, plus things 300 said including concerts, ships, etc…
    I tried to use 300’s non-water description of what would be blocked.
    Second – okay, now this time you did – first time anyone has in this thread – reply with something that the HarborCenter bridge would block from Perry but the future Canalside buildings wouldn’t block – some sky.
    nyc>“the concern is for buildings bulging over or onto public rights of way that block your terminal view down the street as well as the sky and create an inhospitable environment beneath…”
    That looks true … maybe half or more of the part of the sky in between tree tops and Skyway would be blocked by HC bridge, but probably wouldn’t be blocked by a future planned multi-story Canalside building on Main across from Perry. Most or all of the current terminal view (treetops/etc) would be blocked by future CS buildings.
    Fair enough – it answers what I asked.
    Although much sky above Skyway would remain visible from Perry above a HC bridge, some portion of sky now visible below the Skyway wouldn’t be.
    That seems the only tangible difference about blockage, except for the HC bridge blocking the above-1st-floor part of a future CS building itself.
    The rest seems intangible, which isn’t to say can’t ever be important to anybody as I agreed when Tim said that.
    An ‘inhospitable environment beneath’ could depend on if there during rain. Sometimes being under the bridge could be more hospitable, perhaps usually in clear weather less hospitable.

  • whatever

    Perhaps spilled milk now, but …
    if instead of presenting that unfunded totally-different alternative plan with 10-story hotel and rinks on so many roofs, if the opposition had used actual photos of the view from Perry St and pointed out how the sky blockage (& intangibles) could be improved by making the bridge smaller with a bit less parking… and focused on that, not things like ‘discourage walkablilty’ or overly dramatic stuff condemning the whole project, etc.,
    …. it might have had a better chance of being listened to.
    Media several days before the board meeting could’ve published actual pictures of the view in question from Perry, and some constructive public debate might’ve happened instead of just the well deserved critiques of the alternative presented at the meeting.
    In other words, trying a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer.
    Or maybe not – there’s no way to know now.

  • nyc

    yes.. that’s why i pointed out that there is no public leadership. community activists will always come to the table with alternatives, some realistic, most not, but it’s ultimately its the responsibility of public leaders to insure intelligent planning and sensible design. And believe me these issues have been pointed out to the Sabres before at outreach meetings…but they could care less as there is no motivation to change the plan. it’s the city’s responsibility to it’s citizens that the same mistakes are not being made over and over. This building is part of the heritage of urban planning in buffalo..impede, sacrafice, give-a-way the public domain for the hopes that this or that project will finally be the one that allows us to turn the corner downtown. It has yet to happen after decades…why is this different?

  • Old First Ward

    Good urban planning not only plans for the present but also for the long term. Fast tracking a project to appease a sports team owner because you feel obligated to repay his investment in purchasing our beloved hockey team is a very wrong reason to embrace this location for this obstructionism.
    So far his lapses in judgement have caused agony to this fan base and now comes a permanent stain to our landscape. I’m not questioning his heart, but I am calling out his decision making and his circle of advisers. Starting with the retention of Darcy Regier which resonates to draft picks, trades, signings, and now coaching. Firing Ruff to elevate Rolston is just stupidity, even if it is interim. Approved by Pegula. Spend millions on a country club locker room and what does it get you? A last place team with one of the highest payrolls in the league. This team is in disarray and it starts with the decision making.
    Now comes this pet project-it is certainly that-which for the immediate moment thrills a select handful on this site. A consensus of positive reactions include, “I can play hockey and drink beer, this is progress, something is happening,” this is all kitchen table, plastic lawn chair thinking. Some here question what views? The skyway, the shrubbery by the coast guard base. Well these things will not be here in 20 years but this erector set will. Now for the foreseeable future, it will alter the viewscapes and eliminate any tangible development that could compliment the waterfront without any drastic obstruction. Even the dated HSBC atrium is an obstacle to fantastic development possibilities in the corridor that stretches from Michigan Ave. to the waters edge. The planning possibilities were endless. Not anymore.
    Where were these great urban planners and designers from UB when a symposium was needed to address this. Instead of promoting junk collections in residential homes they should have been seizing the opportunities to step up and put some PLANS out there for discussion. I give Matthew Ricchiazzi credit for thinking and creating discussion. Even if it is a radical suggestion. It engages the thought process before somebody plops a project at our feet and everyone drops to their knees in praise. This isn’t a public friendly project, it is a hockey consolidation project that takes way more than it gives.

  • LouisTully
  • whatever

    “activists will always come to the table with alternatives, some realistic, most not,”
    Well, when they choose an approach so clearly delusional and mockable as the last-minute-rinks-on-roofs-10story-hotel alternative, they hurt their own cause.
    This might rejected because it’s me saying it, but….
    to try changing minds of imperfect elected leaders, a more reasoned and focused approach from your side of this using mainstream media (well prior to final approval vote meeting) to show pictures of the planned bridge and arguing only how the bridge could/should be made smaller – all while clearly not attacking the main ideas of the plan which had won in the RFP – would’ve had a better chance of impact.
    No guarantee of course, but the approach which was tried with only last minute media focus on the dopey alternative was pretty much guaranteed to not have any impact. JMHO.

  • nyc

    you are missing the point.
    the city is responsible to be able to look at, understand, review, and approve projects. They should get cues from public input but ultimately the city needs to understand design. There is no reason that the public should have to say a word before the city says “no revisit that idea.” Cities function this way every day. It should not be up to the public to police this stuff. It’s also not up to “imperfect elected leaders” but rather the project must be reviewed and evaluated by professional staff.

  • whatever

    nyc – I’m not missing that point, just being practical & realistic about it.
    The local govt of Buffalo gets things wrong quite often.
    I’m not saying Buffalo is unusual that way either, and I’m not even necessarily agreeing the HC bridge is a disaster – but for sake of discussion let’s suppose it is.
    What I’m saying is sometimes Buffalo’s govt does reverse course based on public reaction.
    For instance the Wilson Street farm. City govt / Brown admin were hell bent against allowing it – heels dug in, all that. But then after their first reaction went over so badly, they did a 180 flip flop and allowed it, eventually bragged about it.
    Other stuff they’ve reversed course on – Bass Pro, One Sunset, the Jim Pitts hotel, writing alternate side parking tickets on New Year’s Monday, …
    ‘professionals’ had gotten all of those wrong too.
    I’m not saying always or even usually it’s possible to get them to change their minds, and yeah ideally they’d get things ‘correct’ on their own (although not everyone agrees about what’s correct)….
    but practically & realistically, sometimes public opposition can have impact.
    I’d think very seldom if ever will it have impact when attempted like it was this time with an unfocused last minute crazy alternative ‘plan’ stepping all over their own message about the bridge size.
    If the city govt was incompetent in approving the bridge size aspect, so was the opposition in how it tried to reverse it.

  • nyc

    you are not being practical. you are just defending stupidity.

  • whatever

    I’ve no idea why you claim I’m defending any stupidity on any side. Lame.
    Clearly a big stupid fail was the strategy/tactics of the opposition, as I described in previous comments. So, I suppose I could claim you’re ‘defending’ that.
    Yes, also unelected bureaucrats do stupid things. If that’s a news flash, so be it. If it looks like I’m ‘defending’ that to point out how common it is but how it can also be possible to overcome that, well…
    But here’s the thing –
    The nine people you guys elected to the Common Council could’ve held up on approving the sale until or unless the bridge was made smaller. Instead they gave unanimous approval. And that was well after the Planning Board meetings.
    That zero of the nine made a public issue of the bridge size, and weren’t even effectively pressured by your side to attempt making a big public issue of it, speaks volumes about stupidity elsewhere too (if indeed the bridge size is stupid).

  • nyc

    shut up

  • nyc

    okay fine, that was rude but i am really tired of this.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/zERv75MazoflutwHy7lRxIy3._UEpg–#999ef

    It would be different if this was a main thoroughfare, but it’s actually capping the end of a street… covering a pretty horrible view (my opinion). Trying to tie canalside to cobblestone (with a total of 4? social venues) is a tough road with the FNC right where it is, but there is an opportunity to actually do that- blow up the NFTA metro rail yard- or reuse the upper levels- or something with that place- it’s the obvious barrier to a flow from canalside to cobblestone AND actual waterfront access. You could potentially run it practically to River Fest Park.
    This would help the accidental FNC exits into ‘No man’s land’ as well.

  • whatever

    Ok, no problem, fair enough. Sometimes being rude is useful to get a message across.
    But I get it. I’ll try to not reply to or mention your comments.

  • LouisTully

    @Old First Ward  Hey.  There’s adult leagues.  Several of them.  Just letting you know.