Former First Niagara CEO Named President of HARBORcenter

June 6, 2013 Updated Jun 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM EDT

By John Borsa

June 6, 2013 Updated Jun 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - First Niagara stockholders may not have liked John Koelmel's fast-growth approach, one of the reasons why the bank forced him out as president and CEO in March.

But that quality is exactly what the Buffalo Sabres organization is looking for.

"It is a big win for HARBORcenter, but I think it's a really big win for the community," said Cliff Benson, chief development officer for the Sabres just before announcing that Koelmel will be president of the multi-use private development.

"I expect the citizens of Buffalo and this community to patronize HARBORcenter and all its amenities and what it affords and what it provides and the opportunities it creates," said Koelmel.

Koelmel will oversee the $170 million construction project and operate the facility when it opens in September of 2014.