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HarborCenter update – racing to completion

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Things are really chugging along at HarborCenter, as about 200 men and women, working on two shifts and six days a week, race along to get HarborCenter open in time for hockey season. With the weather finally breaking into full spring mode, construction work is really bustling at the foot of Main Street, and today HarborCenter officials Cliff Benson and John Koelmel, along with construction supervisor Ryan Poropat from Mortenson Construction, took members of the media on a hardhat tour to update the progress on the facility.

hc0846aHere are some rapid fire updates, and things you might want to know:

-The overall construction progress is now at 60-65% of the entire project. They are on target for a late September opening.

-Work is now progressing on the floor of both rinks, as well as the seating bowl of the feature rink. Work is progressing offsite abut two blocks away on assembling the trusses that will form the roof the main rink. Work has also begun on the exterior brick facade along Washington Street.

-The south crane (nearest to the First Niagara Center) is scheduled to be disassembled and removed on June 19. The north crane will be in place for several more months, as work continues on the hotel tower.

-There will be an enclosed pedestrian skybridge connecting the second level of the parking ramp to the main level of First Niagara Center, which is the second floor of the arena’s pavilion. Patrons will be able to park in the ramp, walk across to the arena, and have their tickets scanned without having to go outside.

-While there will be no escalators to ferry visitors to the 6th floor rinks, there will be 12 elevators for public use, as well as stairs and ramps.

-Perry Street, which has been closed to vehicular traffic between Main Street and Washington Street since construction began, will not be reopened until the center officially opens in fall. At this time, Both Washington Street and Main Street surrounding the structure are completely closed off as well, as masonry work on the facade goes into full installation mode.

Of additional interest is the retail space which will front along Main Street. It has already been announced that the 716 sports bistro will be set up at the Washington and Scott street corner, with the new “destination” Tim Hortons going on Main and Scott. HarborCenter will also be leasing about approximately 4500 square feet of space along the street. “Enough for two stores” says HarborCenter President John Koelmel. Development Officer Cliff Benson reported, “We’ve had huge interest in the space, probably we’d be able to lease 45,000 square feet if we had it. We are just now going to work on what we want to put in there. The many inquiries speaks to the excitement and the demand here in the district. We want to make sure we have the right type of tenants, that will fit into the theme of the building, and businesses that are sure to be successful.” Koelmel added that there will be further announcements soon, and that they expect to have the retail space fully leased and occupied by years end.

HarborCenter is slated to open in October, 2014, with the 200 room Marriott Hotel then set to open in May of 2015.

The space for the 716 Sports Bistro is beginning to take shape

The space for the 716 Sports Bistro is beginning to take shape

Here is the skybridge connecting the HarborCenter ramp to the First Niagara Center pavilion

Here is the skybridge connecting the HarborCenter ramp to the First Niagara Center pavilion

The seating bowl of Rink 1, the feature rink which will have a capacity of 1800 seats

The seating bowl of Rink 1, the feature rink which will have a capacity of 1800 seats

And across the street, work is stirring on the historically aligned canals on the Aud Block

And across the street, work is stirring on the historically aligned canals on the Aud Block

Masonry work has begun on the Washington Street side of the building

Masonry work has begun on the Washington Street side of the building


  • Chris Schmidt

    Demand for 45k of retail space? Hello ECHDC?!?!?