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$35 million Niagara Falls hotel project faces key vote

Hamister Group Inc.

A major new addition to Niagara Falls' historic core may be only a few days from final approval, with construction expected to start by late next spring.

When the Cataract City had a vibrant core next to the falls itself, Old Falls Street was at the heart of it. That went away over the decades and the city has spent millions getting ready to bring it back.

That's the area chosen for the $35 million Hamister hotel, now carrying the Hyatt Place banner. It goes to the city Planning Board on Tuesday where it's expected to win approval.

Since originally proposed as a Hilton Garden Inn, there have been delays. Developer Mark Hamister says another company took that brand and his company shifted to Hyatt. Hamister says there have been some major design changes, especially on top of the building for conventions and meetings.

"We've increased the inside space from about 4,500 square feet  to 12,000 square feet. Big change in the size of the banquet facility space and as I've pointed out, it's on the top floor. It's really going to have spectacular views," he said.

Hamister expects construction to start in June. Besides the larger facilities on top, the building itself will be six-stories, with 128 rooms and no apartments.

Original blueprints called for a five-story structure with 24 apartments and 100 rooms. The developer says the project needed more rooms, adding that other businesses are supplying apartments.

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.
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