By Justin Sondel firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Downtown visitors may have another view to enjoy after a proposed development project is completed.
Mark Hamister, the CEO of the Hamister Group, said that his company’s planned hotel will have a top floor banquet room with access to a 5,000 square-foot patio overlooking the Niagara Gorge and Niagara Falls State Park.
“We’re not going to just put the banquet center on the first floor in a box,” Hamister said. “We’re going to put the banquet center on the roof with windows.”
The proposed 110-room hotel is part of a larger project that will include 24 market-rate apartments and up to 8,000 square feet of retail space.
Hamister said the company is applying to three franchises — Hilton, Marriot and Intercontinental — as soon as the development agreement is finalized, which state officials say should happen by the first week of October.
The franchise application process takes three to four months and Hamister Group should be ready to break ground on the building sometime next summer, Hamister said.
The developer said he feels his project has the potential to begin a momentum shift in Niagara Falls and promote further development.
“I look forward to this project being the seed for many more projects, not just by us, but by others,” Hamister said. “We can really start to make the two sides of the border a little more equal.”
In a visit to the Falls this past week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the proposed hotel, residential and retail building a “significant project” for the city, one that he believes could help turn the tide of development in the Falls.
“There is a different dynamic and there is a different attitude and there is a different energy about Niagara Falls,” the governor said.Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257