Kim Pegula, Cliff Benson and Stan Makowski to oversee ongoing operations of HARBORCENTER
HARBORCENTER today announced that, with the successful opening of the sports and entertainment complex significantly advanced, President John Koelmel will be leaving the company. The more than $200 million world-class facility, which opened in late October, has already brought tens of thousands of guests and visitors to Canalside and downtown Buffalo and created excitement and enthusiasm around the continued redevelopment of Buffalo's waterfront district.
"Two years ago, Terry and I asked John to work with us to lead the launch of this significant new project and business," Kim Pegula said. "We thank him for his many contributions in building a terrific operating and service team, and for preparing us to not only successfully open our doors, but also position us very well for the future. His business acumen, community presence and strong leadership have served us well as we look forward to our first full year of operations and to the opening of the retail and hotel components of the project in the months ahead."
Terry and Kim Pegula broke ground on construction of HARBORCENTER in April 2013. Koelmel joined the company in July of that year as its first employee. Over the past 21 months, he has overseen the recruitment of a team that now numbers more than 350, as well as the opening of the multifaceted hockey and entertainment businesses, one of the most anticipated new projects in Buffalo in many years.
"When I joined Terry and Kim's team almost two years ago, I did so to not only help them develop and launch an exciting new project and business, but to also support their efforts to further drive positive growth and change in Buffalo and WNY," Koelmel said. "I have enjoyed the opportunity and am very proud of the many outstanding outcomes in the five months since we opened the complex. In particular, I am very proud of the team we have assembled, and know they will continue to dazzle every guest and visitor that enjoys the HARBORCENTER experience in the years ahead."
Pegula indicated that, as Koelmel transitions from the company over the next several months, Cliff Benson and Stan Makowski will work closely with her, and the HARBORCENTER leadership team, to oversee the ongoing growth and development of the existing hockey-related and restaurant businesses, as well as the opening of the retail shops and the 205-room, full-service Marriott hotel later this summer.
As for what's next for Koelmel, the lifelong Buffalo resident and business leader, he reinforced his "passion and commitment to further contribute to the ongoing growth and development of the Buffalo-Niagara region" via his future business endeavors, as well as in his numerous community volunteer leadership roles.