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Canalside: Construction boom

WBFO News file photo

After attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors this past summer - and with several major construction projects either underway or ready to break ground - the future is only looking brighter for the downtown waterfront. 

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is setting its sights on bigger goals for 2013.  

"Canalside has passed the tipping point of success" - according to the Harbor Corporation - which says the area attracted more than a half-million visitors this past summer.

Thomas Dee Harbor Corporation president says - the tangible results of rebuilding the waterfront is the private sector investment being made. For example the former Donovan Building is undergoing 30-million-dollars in renovations.

Benderson Development Vice President Eric Recoon says One Canalside - expected to open in early 2014 - is sure to be an icon for years to come. 

And next door - the Sabres organization is moving ahead with a $123-million hockey complex on the Webster Block. It was the most valuable parcel downtown six months ago Dee says. But now he thinks it's the Aud Block - where canals - that will be used for skating in winter - are going in - with the same formula used on the Central Wharf. 

Next season - Dee says they're planning to increase the number of events from 425- to 600. The work on Canalside is creating more than 48-hundred jobs - and is expected to create a thousand permanent positions