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Closed Allentown hotel getting new life

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A downtown Buffalo Holiday Inn is getting new life as a Mariott Residence Inn.

For a half-century, there has been a Holiday Inn on that section of Delaware Avenue running up the hill to North Street. It is now closed. Owner Benderson Development is using its Buffalo Lodging branch to convert the structure to a Marriott Residence Inn.

Speaking to the Planning Board Monday, Planning and Architecture Director Jim Rumsey said the rooms will be larger in what is planned as a longer-term stay hotel. Rooms will be cut from 167 to 105. However, Rumsey told the planning board the big change will be the outside.
"Pretty simply, we're just removing the facade, updating the interior to accommodate 105 rooms, adding a new curtain wall, some brick, a thin brick system because it's just a type one concrete frame structure that can only handle a certain amount of loads," he said.

Rumsey said the plan is to open the new hotel in late summer.

"Well, they're doing demolition right now and removals. The construction documents are in that 30-40% range," he said. "We submitted to Marriott for their approval already, for their signoff. Once that signoff comes in, we'll finish the documents."

The $10-$11 million project still requires approval from the Preservation Board for the proposed signs on the outside of the building because it is in the Allentown historic district.

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.