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Niagara Falls should think about its message to developers, head of Empire State Development says

NIAGARA FALLS – With the City Council tonight poised to put on hold a $25.3 million proposed downtown development project from the Hamister Group, the head of the state’s economic development agency said city leaders should think about what message they send to developers.

“What’s the message Niagara Falls wants to send to the investment community?” Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development said. “I think it’s legitimate to have all questions - obviously elected officials need to have their questions addressed - but we have to think about what’s the message we’re saying. What is the message we're saying to highly qualified, experienced private developers - whether Hamister or somebody else - ready to invest $23 million in the heart of Niagara Falls, the first project of its type in 40 years?”

The Niagara Falls subsidiary of Empire State Development on Monday afternoon gave a go-ahead to provide $2.75 million in public funds the project.

The USA Niagara Development Corp.’s board of directors voted, 4-0, to provide the funding for the planned five-story project that will include a 114-room hotel, 24 apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail space.

But the Hamister Group’s proposal may not get a needed approval from the city tonight.

The transfer of the land at 310 Rainbow Blvd. still needs the approval of the City Council. Last week, Council Chairman Glenn A. Choolokian said the three-member Council majority plans to table the proposal because of concerns over the amount the city will receive in the sale of the land, as well as what he characterized as a lack of information given to lawmakers as the process went on.


business | City Council | downtown
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Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker joined The Buffalo News in 2007, where he has covered communities in Western New York as a beat reporter, multimedia journalist and assistant online editor. A Buffalo native, he began his career in journalism at the Niagara Gazette.

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