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Sabres break ground for new HARBORcenter

Photo provided by the Buffalo sabres

The Buffalo Sabres broke ground Saturday in the Webster block of downtown Buffalo for the construction of HARBORcenter.

The ceremonial event attracted a number of city and Sabres'officials to the corner of Washington and Perry Streets.

The structure will house two ice rinks while offering space for retail, a sports bar, a boutique hotel and other amenities.

“In the two years since I purchased the Buffalo Sabres, the passionate support of our fans has made it evident that hockey is woven into the fabric of this community in a way that is rivaled by few other areas,” said Sabres Owner Terry Pegula. “With HARBORcenter, our goal is to create a destination representative of that passion which will transcend the sport, helping to build downtown Buffalo into a place that visitors can’t wait to come back to again.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was among the local dignitaries on hand for the ground breaking Saturday.

"This is a proud moment for me because in less than 13 months we are seeing my vision to transform a surface parking lot, known as the Webster Block, into a $172 million project,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “This is a unique opportunity to shape the future of Buffalo and its waterfront in a strategic way. I am thrilled to be part of the Sabres’ groundbreaking today for a project that will be a huge economic asset to downtown Buffalo, create hundreds of new jobs, and stimulate additional investment interest.”

Most of the building is expected to be open for the beginning of the 2014 hockey season.

“Getting from concept to groundbreaking has been a very complex undertaking, but we have a quality group of professionals who have each worked tirelessly to ensure that every step runs as smoothly as the last,” said HARBORcenter President Cliff Benson. “We hope that the continued success of our project serves as an indicator of how, with the public and private sectors working together, we can build a better Buffalo."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also attended the event. 

“The HARBORcenter project represents a new chapter in Buffalo’s storied hockey history, with much more waiting to be written following the construction of this unique facility,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “With public support and significant investment from the Sabres and Mr. Pegula, our area will once again be known as one of the premier hockey markets in North America. Moreover, the new facility will serve as a training ground for local hockey talent, be a catalyst in attracting visitors to the downtown area, and will provide an unparalleled hockey experience at the NHL level.”

The following is a timeline the Sabres created for the HarborCenter project:

HARBORcenter Important Dates:

February 15, 2012

Mayor Byron Brown, in his State of the City Address, announces an RFP for the Webster Block development.

July 28, 2012

HARBORcenter Development, LLC presents a concept to City of Buffalo officials.

August 29, 2012

City of Buffalo selects HARBORcenter Development, LLC as the preferred developer of the Webster Block.

February 19, 2013

Erie County Industrial Development Agency, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and the Buffalo Common Council unanimously approve the HARBORcenter project.

March 1, 2013

Construction of HARBORcenter begins.

March 8, 2013

Final purchase agreement between the City of Buffalo and HARBORcenter Development, LLC is executed.

April 13, 2013

Official Groundbreaking ceremony takes place on the project site.

September 1, 2014

HARBORcenter ice rinks, restaurant and parking facility open to the public.

May 30, 2015

HARBORcenter hotel opens to the public.

Saturday & Sunday 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.