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Planning board approves conversion of Curtiss Building into luxury hotel

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Mike Desmond/WBFO News
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A long-vacant landmark building in downtown Buffalo will soon be converted into a luxury hotel. The Curtiss Building at Franklin and West Huron has long been on developer Mark Croce's "to do" list and the city's planning board had previously approved an earlier version of the project. The board unanimously approved the latest plan Tuesday morning for the $18 million conversion into what Croce says is an upper end luxury hotel that is unlike anything else in this area now.

"Ours is very high-end. Ours is very specialized. We're looking for a niche market. When you talk about these other hotel projects, they're all kind of cookie-cutter, middle-market properties that you can find on any roadway or Thruway interchange," says Croce.

"They don't offer that extra special level of service they we're going to offer."

Croce says the $18 million dollar renovation plan uses historic preservation tax credits to help with the cost. The developer says construction will start within the next two weeks and the new hotel will be open sometime next summer.

One of the amenities Croce is planning is free valet parking, both for hotel and restaurant guests, something he says upper-end customers expect. The new hotel will include an Italian-themed restaurant with a revolving bar and a rooftop sky bar.

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.