Sabres Win Bid To Develop Webster Block Arena Complex


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Sabres win bid to develop Webster Block Arena Complex August 30, 2012 9:27 AM

USHL or the Ontario Junior Hockey League, that will be the question many Buffalo New York hockey players will be asking over the next twenty four months.

As first reported by TJHN, the Buffalo Sabres have been selected to develop a two sheet Ice Arena and Hotel complex just yards away from the First Niagara Center on the Webster Block.

Mayor Byron Brown was pleased to announce the selection of HARBOR center Development, LLC (the development company affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres) as the preferred project developer. Also released was the term sheet, outlining the plan to create two new ice rinks, which coupled with First Niagara Center, makes this facility the “first of its kind” in the United States. The project also calls for a hotel, retail, a restaurant and new parking, for a total estimated project cost of $123 million.

The Webster Block, a 1.7 acre city owned site, and is considered a prized downtown parcel due to its location in downtown Buffalo, its proximity to Canalside, two major sports venues, and the Peace Bridge. The HARBOR center Development project is expected to provide approximately 1,500 construction jobs. Once complete, the facilities are expected to create 350 full-time jobs, and generate $4.1 million in state and local taxes, $48 million over the next ten years.

The Buffalo Sabres agreed to the following terms in securing the project:

Pay $2 million for the Webster Block

Seek city residents for post-construction jobs

Agreed to use local workforce for construction and meet 25% minority and 5% female hiring goals

Agreed to 25% minority business and 5% women business enterprise participation goals

Pay Living Wage for employees of ice rink and parking ramp

Attain the highest reasonable environmental standards for building

Expand parking in the building to make attendance at Canalside events more convenient for the public

Construct a facility that attracts new hockey-themed events/tournaments, and creates new opportunities for other special events

Committed to public, community and youth hockey use

Receive additional community input through the charette process

Terry Pegula, Owner of the Buffalo Sabres, has once again shown his commitment to hockey and the development of players through this projects development. The project further demonstrates his commitment to the Western New York community and the improvement of down town Buffalo.

The only question now is who will play at this new facility?

Rumors of the USHL landing in Buffalo have been swirling for the last few years. With this project eyeing completion within 24 months, could that USHL expansion take place? Certainly the timeline would work. Or, do the OJHL’s Jr. Sabres make the move to the new facility? Although that is quite possible, the Jr. Sabres have carved out a nice little niche outside of the down town area.

One person in the know suggested to me last night that the Jr. Sabres could make the jump to the USHL. I took this as pure speculation on his part, but the move could make a lot of sense if USHL expansion actually happens.

Written By: Joseph Kolodziej

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