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Webster Block Plan Advances; Alternative Vision Floated

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. 

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HARBORcenter renderings above from Buffalo News.
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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.”  
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LoMa would add two open-air rooftop ice rinks on the current arena parking ramp and one at the DL&W Terminal.
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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.  
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Written by WCPerspective

WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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