The Buffalo Planning Board this morning recommended the City Council approve abandoning several small pieces of right-of-way needed for the Sabres’ Webster Block development. Construction on the HARBORcenter project at the foot of Main Street is expected to start next month. The cost of the mixed-use complex is now projected at $170 million making it the largest, private-sector funded building in Buffalo’s history according to Business First.
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.
HARBORcenter renderings above from Buffalo News.
Preservationist Tim Tielman and nearby property owner John McKendry of Hi-Temp Fabrication spoke out against the project. They presented an alternative design for the neighborhood (images above, below). Their LoMa (Lower Main) concept calls for historic-themed buildings that include a hotel, residential, retail, parking and ice rinks. They say that HARBORcenter is “trying to do too much on a too-small site” calling the Sabres’ project “mammoth, jammed up against the current arena and built over one block of Perry Street.”
LoMa would add two open-air rooftop ice rinks on the current arena parking ramp and one at the DL&W Terminal.
On the Webster Block an enclosed rink would sit on top of two-levels of parking. The block would also include a ten-story hotel with half-rounded balconies to recall Buffalo’s grain elevators, a row of townhouses along Main and Scott streets with ground-floor retail and a continuous second floor balcony, and a “Whipple” truss pedestrian bridge connection to the arena. Pedestrian bridges would also connect to the second floor of the DL&W Terminal.