BUFFALO, NY - Construction started Friday on the ice rinks at RiverWorks, a Buffalo entertainment complex set to open next year.
"To me it's very uniquely Buffalo," says developer Doug Swift.
Just across the Michigan Avenue bridge in Buffalo, you will find Swift's silos.
"I've got an affection for these structures. Always have. I have floated down this river as a kid and always looked up at these things and wondered what if," he says.
Within the year, Swift hopes to transform this space into RiverWorks, which he describes as a regional entertainment destination.
"Every day we'll have something different going on down here," he says.
Friday, crews began building the ice rinks, but Swift's favorite part of the project includes 15 concrete rings which are each 25 feet tall and 25 feet in diameter.
"We are affectionately calling it Stonehenge because it has that feel to it, but clearly this is more of a modern post-industrial Stonehenge," he said. "The twisted metal, we're leaving all of that there."
Swift came up with the idea for RiverWorks when he first visited the silos with another developer, but they couldn't see much of what's there because it was covered with 50 feet of crumbled concrete.
They have big plans for Stonehenge, and Tuesday will go before the city planning board to try to get approval for their site plan. It also includes a restaurant at the top of one of the silos and a large concert venue.
"This space in there is just killer, and we're going to fill this whole area and up to our property line with beach sand. So this will be sort of an outdoor beach gazebo Biergarten hangout spot right on the water," says Swift.
Swift says the ice rinks will be done in time to host the Labatt Blue Pond Hockey tournament this February. He says you can expect to see the hotel open in four or five years.