BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Sabres owner Terry Pegula has been picked as the preferred developer of the Webster block, in downtown Buffalo. HARBORcenter Development, affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres, will buy the land for $2 million.
The project is being called "Buffalo's new front door." It is a $123 million complex, that will feature a hotel, sports bar, shops, and two indoor public ice rinks at the top of a parking garage.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for March 2013 and the project's completion is expected in September 2014.
"We are proud to be named the preferred developer of the Webster block," said Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres. "This project will further enhance the current development at Canalside and in the process, create a destination attraction to draw hundreds of thousands of people to Buffalo's waterfront on a yearly basis. Canalside has seen a rebirth the past few years and we expect our project to act as a catalyst for future development on the waterfront."
PHOTOS | Proposals for the Webster block
"This is going to transform Canalside and downtown Buffalo, drawing people nationally and internationally to our city," said Mayor Byron Brown.
Sabres Chief Development Officer Cliff Benson says it's the destination that makes a big difference, "It's the destination, as Ted and I coming from Pittsburgh have seen what the waterfront there has transitioned to, and having people come there, that's what this is all about.
Some big ideas were competing for a small piece of turf in the heart of Buffalo's burgeoning waterfront district. Carl Paladino of Ellicott Development also had submitted his plan for a 12-story complex with a hotel, restaurants, shops, apartments, office space and a thousand indoor parking spaces.
Developer Carl Paladino told News 4's Rich Newberg, he thought he had a better proposal and that he is "disappointed," but says that, "life goes on."
According to the City of Buffalo, the Sabres agreed to the following terms:
- 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
- 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
You can review the Webster block timeline from the City of Buffalo below:
Mayor Brown issued a challenge to the development community during his annual State of the City Address, asking them to present ideas on how to re-invent the Webster Block, a prime piece of city-owned land.
The City of Buffalo issued a request for proposals for the Webster Block with a submission deadline of Friday, June 15, 2012.
Submittals were narrowed down to two proposals: HARBORcenter Development (the development company affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres) and Ellicott Development Company.
A selection committee was named to review the proposals and submit a recommendation to Mayor Byron Brown. A group of community leaders were also identified to work with the selection committee to review proposals and submit a recommendation.
Both Ellicott Development Company and the Buffalo Sabres presented their proposals to the selection committee and community representatives. The presentations were recorded and played repeatedly on public access television and made available on the City of Buffalo's website. The public was also invited to submit comments in response to the presentations.
The two development companies were invited back individually to meet with the selection committee and community leaders to clarify any information and answer technical questions.
Both Ellicott Development Company and HARBORcenter Development returned to present additional information to the selection committee and seven community representatives.
Selection Committee selects HARBORcenter Development as preferred developer
Submit term sheet to Buffalo Common Council for notification
Environmental Review Process begins, building on the Canalside Environmental Review for the area
A Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) will be presented to the Council for approval
Groundbreaking of Webster Block at Harbor Center
Ribbon-cutting of Webster Block at Harbor Center to celebrate the opening of the ice rinks, parking lot, restaurants and retail
Doors open to the new, up to 200-room hotel component of the project
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