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First components of Labatt House to open this November

A full-service bar, restaurant, beer garden and brewery are expected to open this November, representing the first tenants of a development in progress in Buffalo's Cobblestone District. Officials with Pegula Sports and Entertainment joined representatives of Labatt USA to provide a progress report on what will be known as Labatt House.

The project was first announced last year, converting a vacant building at Perry and Illinois Streets into a mixed-use facility anchored by Labatt USA. Pegula Sports and Entertainment chief operating officer Bruce Popko led Tuesday's briefing at the construction site, explaining what will go up and on what floor.

In addition to Labatt USA's new facilities, including their new corporate offices where an estimated 70 employees will work, PSG will also be moving in.

"Pegula Sports and Entertainment will be relocating our headquarters to the third and fourth floor of the facility," he said. "That looks like it'll be early 2019. The design is done, construction is underway."

Apartments, Popko added, will be located on the fifth floor, though he added those remain in a design stage. Further details, including when the apartments may become available, will be announced at a later time.

Labatt USA, meanwhile, will have its Labatt Brew House ready to go this November, company leaders announced. It will be located on the ground floor, featuring a 3,000 square-foot "innovation brewery" with a 400 square-foot tasting room. 

"Our brewing equipment is a brand new ten-barrel, four-vessel brew house with 11 fermenters and eight brite tanks,"  said Brinn Johnson, Director of Retail Strategy and Business Development for Labatt USA. "This gives us flexibility to brew multiple batches of small-batch beer every week."

Johnson said the company has hired an experienced brewmaster to lead the Brew House. In addition, The Draft Room will serve seasonal fare, offering two bar areas, seating for approximately 200 people and a large beer garden to be located at the rear of the building. The beer garden, Popko said, will be an all-weather facility.

Popko said once Labatt House opens, it will be just the latest example of Terry and Kim Pegula's commitment to redeveloping downtown Buffalo and Western New York.  The Pegula footprint is large in the Cobblestone District and Canalside. As owners of the Buffalo Sabres hockey franchise, the Pegulas' product is a premier attraction at KeyBank Center. Next door is their privately developed HarborCenter. 

Popko says the Pegulas' investments have resulted in events coming to Buffalo including the recent National Hockey League Player Combine, NCAA tournament basketball and three international hockey championships including last winter's IIHF U20 men's championship, better known as the World Juniors.

"Labatt House adds another $20 million to Terry and Kim's commitment and brings their total investment in our community to nearly $2 billion."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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