Progress does not come without a few broken eggs here and there. In the case of the Buffalo Sabres, that progress involves blocking the name of the company that pays millions of dollars to sponsor their home arena.
The $172.2 million HARBORCENTER project is more than half done. Across the street from the First Niagara Center, the project – which will top out at 20 stories – includes two hockey rinks, parking, hotel and retail space.
If you didn't already know it was across from the First Niagara Center, though, it'd be tough to discern that now. That's because construction is already blocking the arena sign, which rests on the northern portion of the building facing toward the rest of downtown.
When finished, the HARBORCENTER will completely obstruct the sign as it currently rests. People on both sides say they're aware of the issue and are working toward a solution.
What that could involve – whether it be branding the HARBORCENTER, moving signage to other parts of the arena roof or a combination – remains to be seen. But First Niagara's 15-year naming rights deal, agreed to after First Niagara acquired Buffalo-area HSBC branches in August 2011, is too lucrative for the bank not to find a resolution.
HARBORCenter is set to open in the fall except for the hotel, which is a Marriott that's slated to open in 2015.
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