Oct. 02--The massive HarborCenter project taking shape in downtown Buffalo is about one-fourth of the way toward its completion a year from now, as dozens of workers swarming the site have already put in nearly 60,000 man-hours of work and officials prepare to pour the concrete beams that will provide the first link to the First Niagara Center.
John R. Koelmel, HarborCenter president, and Cliff Benson, the chief development officer for the Buffalo Sabres, said the $172.2 million project is on schedule for the opening next September of the two full-size ice rinks, a two-story hockey-themed restaurant, retail space and the 850-space five-level parking ramp.
The 200-room full-service Marriott hotel on the upper floors will open later, in May 2015, but should at least be framed on the outside by this time next year, officials said.
HarborCenter has not announced any details about the restaurant, but expects to do so in the coming weeks. However, officials did say it will be locally run by HarborCenter and the Sabres, and not part of a national chain.
More than 100 construction workers -- mostly from the local area -- are now on the site, in helmets and full protective gear, some even harnessed to wires as they lay the supporting scaffolding for the rising structure. They've worked 58,000 hours in all, the equivalent of about 30 years.
The workers have placed 5,672 cubic yards of concrete, installed 1.48 million pounds of rebar and 89,818 feet of post-tensioned cable for the concrete decks, and installed three-fourths of a mile of underground plumbing and 1.7 miles of underground conduit.
In the coming weeks, workers will pour 1,100 cubic yards of concrete in a single day to form the grid pattern of beams that will stretch across Perry Street between HarborCenter and the First Niagara Center. That will link the buildings and provide the base to support the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of HarborCenter, including the pedestrian bridge, two floors of parking and the ice rink.
By comparison, one official said, a typical driveway takes just six cubic yards of concrete.