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HarborCenter plans for massive restaurant complex

As construction heads for completion on the HarborCenter complex, officials continue to release glimpses of what the public can expect. On Wednesday, they discussed their 13,000 square foot dining establishment that will be known as (716).HarborCenter President John Koelmel says most of the complex will open this fall, including the (716) restaurant, the 750-car parking ramp and the two ice rinks. As planned, the Marriott Hotel will open in the spring of next year.

Koelmel and restaurant G-M Dominic Verni say the menu hasn't been decided but it will present the best of local food, 40 brands of beer with 20 on tap and a 38-foot television screen that will be the largest restaurant TV screen in the continental U.S.

Verni says the (716) will offer a unique experience for sports fans.

"It's headquarters to a our beloved Sabres, Bills, Bandits, Bisons, college, high school and recreational sports fans and all of their fans that love their sport," Verni said.

"Our mission will be to provide the premier fan, food and sports destination as a key element to the overall HarborCenter experience, with a commitment to hospitality quality in our community."

Koelmel says it's all part a plan to attract people from all over for events in First Niagara Center and on the two rinks in the HarborCenter, part of a year-round attraction for sports and entertainment.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.