HarborCenter bridge to arena taking shape
by Andrew Kulyk (@akulykUSRT) - posted 9:09 pm, November 14, 2013
Thursday was a big day at HarborCenter, the $172-million mixed use facility rising on the former Webster Block in front of the First Niagara Center. Concrete was poured to form what will be the bridge deck connecting the facility to the second level concourse of the arena, and spanning across Perry Street.
Over 1100 cubic yards of concrete were brought in today, enough to fill 275 residential driveways. “We’ve been preparing for this day for weeks, setting in the place the rebar and abutments. The concrete trucks starting lining up around 1:30 this morning and we were at it from the break of day,” reported Ryan Poropat, construction manager for Mortensen Construction, the general contractor for the massive project.
With sun and clouds but very windy conditions, there was some question whether today’s undertaking would come off as planned. But Poropat said that they have kept on schedule and gotten through other tricky undertakings with the building even with challenging weather days. “We’re actually on schedule and ahead of schedule and still looking at a September, 2014 completion date for everything but the hotel.”
One of the changes just announced is that Perry Street will be opened to vehicular traffic a lot sooner than expected. When the street was originally closed off last March, the Sabres announced that the street would remain closed until work is finished on the center. Now, apparently, the newly tunneled section of Perry Street will be reopened in late winter or early spring. “People driving under the Center will be able to look up and see exactly the part of the building we are pouring today,” Poropat said.
He also reported that the HarborCenter developers will be doing the finishing work for all streetscapes, sidewalks, and repaving of all streets surrounding the facility. “It will be all new sidewalks, and in fact, we will be repaving Perry Street to beyond this spot (to Illinois Street where the media was assembled today),” said Poropat.
When completed, HarborCenter will feature two regulation sized hockey rinks, including one with spectator capacity for 1800 patrons, training and exercise facilities with 11 separate locker rooms, and will also house a 200 room Marriott Hotel, ground floor retail space including a top flight sports themed restaurant, and indoor parking for 800 vehicles. Combined with the First Niagara Center, this will be the only three rink hockey facility in the NHL.