RiverWorks LLC developers hope to have two refrigerated outdoor rinks ready for the Labatt's annual pond hockey tournament by February.
The effort is part of a larger project on the site that will eventually include a hotel, entertainment complex and parking. The grain elevators would remain, and warehouses on the site would be incorporated into the design.
"We're going to be changing the use of a lot of the interior space everyday" said Buffalo Riverworks partner Doug Swift.
Swift says the large space will allow for multiple uses and events. "One day it might be a trade show, another day it might be a concert, another day it might be a large banquet event." He also said that the reconstruction of Ohio Street, the Buffalo Riverkeeper's work to clean up the Buffalo river, and the investments being made in Canalside all point toward now being the time to develop this site. "I think this is the next frontier for Buffalo's development," Swift said.
The site, off Ganson Street is expected to eventually include an outdoor concert space and access to the Buffalo River, linked by an atrium to restaurants and a 5,000 seat exhibition or concert hall, in addition to the outdoor rinks. (Artist's rendering above right)
"The refrigerated ice rinks will provide an exceptional venue for the annual Labatt Blue Buffalo Pond Hockey Tournament, which has faced weather challenges over the past several years," Labatt said in a prepared statement.
“This is exactly the direction the tournament needed to take and we can’t wait for hockey on ice this February,” said spokesperson Lisa Texido.
( << At left, photo courtesy: Labatt )
The tournament is just the first part of an aggressive timeline for the project. Swift says that they plan on opening on Memorial Day, with the project to be fully completed this time next year.
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"The Ganson team has a great track record of being able to make things happen quickly, and I have full confidence that they will have the structure that we need for year one of the tournament at this new location."
The rinks will be built in time for February but their final form, with an pavillion enclosure, will be completed later.
Here's the developer's rendering of the site.