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Cuomo intervenes in Falls hotel development dispute

Photo from The Hamister Group Website

As it appeared feuding factions in Niagara Falls would destroy plans for a $25 million hotel complex, Governor Andrew Cuomo's long political reach may have saved the development.

Well-known developer Mark Hamister, of The Hamister Group, is the preferred developer of a decades-long vacant lot at 310 Rainbow Boulevard for a hotel across the street from the Culinary Institute.

The project has been stalled in the City Council, with three members saying the deal wasn't good enough for the city.

Hamister had called a news conference for Thursday, apparently to announce that he was ending his effort.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said the governor called him and said the developer had been persuaded to stick with the plan.

"He (Cuomo) wanted all of the stakeholders to push it forward to get it together and get it done," Dyster told WBFO News.
"He wanted everybody to know that he's solidly behind this project. He says a lot of time and effort has gone into it by his staff. He believes it's an important part of his strategy for economic revitalization in Niagara Falls and this region."

The project has been the target of an anonymous mailer sent out from Erie County to households across Niagara Falls attacking Hamister personally, the deal and its terms.

The printer isn't identifying who paid him to print and distribute the mailer.

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.