HARBORcenter: Behind the scenes look at Buffalo’s coolest project
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • October 03, 2013 @ 1:31pm
Cranes, construction and progress have filled downtown Buffalo this past summer.
One of the city’s most exciting projects is HARBORcenter, the $172.2 million project headed by John R. Koelmel (HARBORcenter president), Cliff Benson (chief development officer for the Buffalo Sabres) and of course Sabres owner Terry Pegula.
Plans for HABRBORcenter are one-fourth of the way completed and will include a 200-room Marriott hotel, parking ramp with five levels and 850 spaces, two floor restaurant, two full ice rinks and a handful of retailers.
We started off the tour gearing up with safety essentials including a reflective vest, glasses, hardhat and gloves—which made it hard to tweet. But, since requiring work gloves on the construction site, small cuts and nicks have greatly decreased.
Koelmel and Benson then greeted the group by answering a few questions and giving us an idea of what we’d get to see.
“The old Webster block doesn’t exist now,” said Koelmel giving advice for fans heading down to the game on Friday. “Get an early start, but we’re not expecting any major hiccups.”
This time next year the rinks, restaurant and retail should all be opened or very close to being opened we were told, but we’ll have to wait to enjoy the planned Marriott until May of 2015.
“We’ve been working a lot with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation,” said Benson. With so many things being constructed and happening in the same area, many organizations and companies have collaborated on traffic flow, getting people in and out of facilities, safety and being environmentally friendly while building.
Then the fun started.
Here was a quick look at my point of view from the tour, walking on top of what is soon to be poured concrete—which will happen in the next few days.
The majority of workers on this project are local and from the area.
Also, here are some interesting numbers we learned on the tour of the construction site:
—5,672 cubic yards of concrete have been placed
—1,483,665 pounds of rebar have been installed
—89,818 feet of post-tensioned cables have been installed
After getting a view form the top, we started our way back down to the main level of construction. There, concrete was getting prepped for pouring and we could get a really great view of the ins and outs of the entire project.
Shoring towers are built up to 32’ - 4.5” at the tallest points for the Perry St. transfer support and it was interesting to learn that Perry St. will reopen.
At this point, approximately 3/4 of a mile of underground plumbing has been installed and 1.7 miles of underground conduit have been installed.
Over 120 construction workers have worked approximately 58,000 hours on the site this far into the project with many more to come. Oh and those cranes? Those were pretty ridiculous to see up close and personal.
With no elevator, the workers in them climb up the installed ladders at 7:30 a.m. and then they don’t come down until 3 p.m., Benson told me. They operate the cranes via radio since a lot of the times, the workers can’t see the full view of the site from their spot in the sky.
Overall, it was fantastic to see the progress that is happening in Buffalo—even right outside my window here at the Buffalo News.
Every day something new is going on down there and it has been awesome to get a glimpse of what is soon to come to the downtown Buffalo area. These guys know what they’re doing and it’s going to be an amazing addition to the city, not to mention the sport of hockey in general.
“When completed, the 20-story entertainment, hotel and retail facility, coupled with the First Niagara Center itself, will represent the first three-rink operation in the National Hockey League,” Jonathan D. Epstein said in his recap in the Buffalo News.
Nice move, Sabres.
Photos courtesy of Kathryn Przybyla.