HARBORCENTER officials showcase progress, announce retail plans

Aug 29, 2014

HARBORCENTER officials led a tour showcasing the progress of the facility in downtown Buffalo Thursday. HARBORCENTER president John Koelmel says the building is expected to be a world class entertainment venue once it’s complete.

The tour began with a viewing of (716) restaurant. Its entrance located at the corner of Washington and Scott Street. The eatery will include 3 bars, 63 television screens and a VIP section.

HARBORCENTER rendering of retail space.
Credit BHNT Architects

“It’s going to have a great menu. A varied menu of what you wouldn’t expect to find [anywhere else], other entrees, appetizers. We’re very excited to bring the menu forward. It’s much more than a typical bar, let alone a typical sports bar,” said Koelmel.

HARBORCENTER is 650,000 sq. ft. in total. It includes two NHL size rinks, locker rooms for the Junior Sabres and the Canisius College Golden Griffins, a high performance training facility operated by IMPACT Sports Performance, the Academy of Hockey, Tim Hortons, and a 750 space parking ramp. HARBORCENTER Project Manager Ryan Poropat says the facility is being built in record time.

“It’s a lot closer than it may look. No doubt there’s a lot of work to do before October 24th, but rest assured Canisius will be playing on October 31st. No doubt about it,” said Poropat.

HARBORCENTER officials unveiled plans Thursday to bring 10,000 square feet retail-space to the facility by the end of this year. The stores would be on the southwest side of the building facing Main Street. Koelmel says no businesses have been secured for the retail space just yet, but the design will allow for multiple high-end vendors.

“We’re looking for frankly vendors to pique our interest and how we can optimize the guest and visitor experience here at HARBORCENTER and Canalside. So, since there is no retail and we’ll have hundreds of thousands of people here over there course of the year, we want to optimize the experience and we want to see what combination of vendors we can assemble for their benefit,” said Koelmel.      

Koelmel says the retail space might also include a mezzanine for visitors to view the waterfront. He says in the future, they plan to extend the retail component into First Niagara Center and along Main Street, creating 30,000 square feet of retail space in total.

HARBORCENTER is set to open in late October. The 20 floor Marriot Hotel with a view of the waterfront and downtown Buffalo open in the spring of 2015.