But it's not everyday that they learn of the rebirth of an architectural treasure like the Hotel Lafayette -- now the Hotel @ The Lafayette after developer Rocco Termini's $43 million renovation and reopening of the century-old grand dame of early-20th century luxury hotels.Columnist Carla Blank lays out in a Sept. 11 story the hotel's storied past, and pays tribute not only to the building's legacy -- it was designed by Louise Bethune, the first female American professional architect -- but also to Buffalo's own heritage and collection of architectural gems. She describes its decline, and also its painstaking rebirth under Termini's direction, with master craftsmen working by hand to restore its beauty.
And she explains her own fascination with Bethune, and how that gave rise to plans for her new book on the architect herself.
She also gives a plug to the ongoing revival of Buffalo, with a focus on the very type of cultural tourism that Western New York's economic development leaders are seeking to target.
"If the imagination, creativity and sheer drive that it took to revive this grand lady, the Lafayette Hotel, is an example of Buffalo’s grit, will and determination, then the town can say with former resident Mark Twain that 'the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.'"
- Jonathan D. Epstein