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Marine Midland Arena has been touted as the best new sports and entertainment place in North America.

Completed a year ago at a cost of $127.5 million, the megabuilding at the foot of Main Street stands 156 feet high like a beacon of hope for what was once an industrial slum.

Its most prominent feature is a five-story pavilion, stretching for a block along Perry Street. This main entrance and gathering place can accommodate 5,000 people coming and going from events within. Architect Patricia A. Clancy of Ellerbe Becket in Kansas City, Mo., said, "We were trying to have something festive and warm as opposed to a stark, modern building."

The 10-story arena itself can seat 18,500 Buffalo Sabres hockey fans and also is a venue for rock concerts and other major events.

A six-story parking garage along Illinois Street can stack 1,200 cars. Its sharp horizontal slabs contrast with the mellow brick buildings of the Cobblestone Historic District across the street.

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