Ten things you might not know about the HarborCenter, which hosts its first Canisius College game on Friday:
1) At $172.2 million, the 20-story HarborCenter is almost entirely privately financed, by Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Sabres and now the Buffalo Bills. (Although the project received $37 million in tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.)
2) HarborCenter, whose new address is 100 Washington St., is directly connected by bridge over Perry Street to the First Niagara Center, making it the only three-rink complex in the NHL.
3) The 1.7-acre Webster Block where the HarborCenter stands was to be the home of the towering Adelphia Communications headquarters – before that telecommunications company imploded in 2001. It had been a parking lot since then, until the city awarded development rights to the Pegulas.
4) Construction of HarborCenter now partially blocks the once-unobstructed view of the giant sign on the First Niagara Center. Ironically, HarborCenter’s current president, John R. Koelmel, was CEO of First Niagara Financial Group when the bank bought the naming rights to the Sabres’ facility.
5) About 1,600 construction jobs will have been created over the two years of construction, since April 2013, including through one of the worst winters in recent memory. Only two days were completely lost due to bad weather. The hockey rinks will open 20 months after construction started.
6) HarborCenter is expected to create 360 full-time jobs and generate $48 million in state and local taxes over the next 10 years. It’s expected to generate nearly $12 million in economic activity in its first seven months from just four events, according to the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission.
7) HarborCenter will be the home ice for Canisius College and Erie Community College teams, plus the Academy of Hockey. The Buffalo Jr. Sabres, who also play there, was expanded to seven teams covering a broad range of ages. One rink seats 1,800 people.
8) The 205-room Marriott Buffalo HarborCenter will include 5,923 square feet of event space for groups up to 240, plus a fitness center, business center and other amenities. It will tower over the building’s northwest corner.
9) The main restaurant – (716) Food and Sport – has a 38-foot-wide video screen, visible from two floors, and more than 360 seats, including 135 bar stools. It will serve 40 beers.
10) The Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop in the lower northwest corner is the only commemorative restaurant dedicated to the chain’s founder and hockey legend, Tim Horton. It will serve in Sabres-themed cups and china with a special logo.