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Croce continues to transform Statler

The historic Statler Towers in downtown Buffalo still looks a little tattered outside and the safety scaffolding remains in place in case more of the outside falls off.  But the proprietor, Buffalo developer Mark Croce, says things are going well inside.    Croce says the lower three floors may look as good as they did when Ellsworth Statler opened the Hotel Statler in 1923.  

For generations of area residents, names like the Golden Ballroom and the Rendezvous Room were associated with luxury entertainment.   Croce says thousands of people used to swirl through the hotel every day.  He says things aren't quite like that now, but he's getting there.  That's why his next priority can sound unusual. 

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Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
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Inside the renovated Statler

Croce noted that right now, the Statler is more of a special events center like the first anniversary party over the weekend and the upcoming Ice Ball for the new year.  Regular restaurant service is a little in the future. He says one key was in the basic design from nine-decades ago which still works.  

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Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
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A bathroom on one of the floors of the Statler under renovation

At the same time, Croce says he deals with social media, instantly available to customers and potential customers.

Croce says the next stage is all of those floors above the three working floors, with abandoned hotel rooms and abandoned offices.   

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Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
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Renovations work underway inside the many floors of the Stateler

One continuing problem is the building exterior which suffers from all of those decades of the local winters and minimal maintenance and deteriorating terra-cotta decoration, some of which has fallen off over time.

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Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
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Outside of the Statler

Croce says the Statler is a symbol of the Buffalo which was and which needs to be saved.  He says the 850,000 square foot structure has towered over Niagara Square for nearly a century and will continue to do so.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.