HarborCenter Receives Triple Endorsement

February 20, 2013 Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 12:33 AM EDT

By John Borsa

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February 20, 2013 Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 12:33 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - HarborCenter, the Buffalo Sabres $170 million parking ramp, ice rink complex, hotel and retail center, received a series of approvals on Tuesday, moving the project towards a March groundbreaking.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency approved tax incentives while the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation said yes to a design review.

The Buffalo Common Council also approved a land transfer, selling the Webster Block parcel in front of First Niagara Center.

"We're grateful for the excitement and have all these people behind us," said Cliff Benson, who is in charge of development for the Buffalo Sabres.

Preservationist Tim Tielman said the complex's 1,000 space parking ramp is not a good fit for the parcel, however, adding that much of the initial structure will be dedicated to parking.

"Right on top of a transit station. And right on top of a neighborhood, the canal district, which citizens fought very hard to preserve," said Tielman.

A 200 room hotel is expected to be added to the project, but not initially.

"The notion that we need more parking rather than ... buildings and small businesses owned by Buffalonians rather than this giant parking ramp, that seems to be tossed off on the side," said Tielman.

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