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Who else made a proposal for prime downtown Niagara Falls parcel?


Hamister Hotel Center Image1
The Hamister Group of Williamsville wants to build a five-story, $25.3 million mixed-use development project at 310 Rainbow Blvd. The structure would consist of a 114-room hotel, 24 apartments and up to 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail space.


USA Niagara Development Corp. released information Monday showing some of the other firms that made proposals for developing a prime parcel in downtown Niagara Falls.

Aside from the Hamister Group, which was chosen as the preferred developer for 310 Rainbow Blvd. in February 2012, Uniland Development, DHD Ventures, Eastern Hospitality Advisors and LMK Realty Associates also submitted proposals.

The Hamister Group's proposal is for a five-story, approximately 119,000-square-foot building with a 114-room hotel, preliminarily anticipated to be a Hilton Garden Inn that would include a 10,000 square foot ballroom facility. There would also be 24 market-rate apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail space on Old Falls Street.

Two other bids were submitted, but they were deemed "non-responsive" by the agency.

The Niagara Falls City Council on Monday put off a decision on the sale of the land at 310 Rainbow for the project.

The five firms were interviewed by a five-person committee: Christopher Schoepflin, president and CEO of USA Niagara; Paul Tronolone, senior planner at USA Niagara; Steve Gawlik, attorney for Empire State Development; Craig Johnson, corporation counsel for the city of Niagara Falls; and Thomas J. DeSantis, the city's senior planner.

Uniland is headquartered in Amherst. DHD Ventures has offices in Rochester and North Carolina. Eastern Hospitality Advisors is based in Buffalo.

The proposals were "largely all hotel driven," and "nothing outside of a hotel" was proposed. There was no destination restaurant or larger-scale hotel proposed, Schoepflin said. There were "some discrepancies" with regard to the scale of the hotel, he said.

"We were looking for a maximization of a number of uses," Schoepflin said.

Of all the proposals, the minimum investment proposed was "probably $15 million," he said.

The highest amount offered specifically for the land was $216,000, which is the assessed value of the land.

The firms received scores based on the interviews and how their proposals "were determined to best achieve the objectives as stated in the RFP." The Hamister Group was given a score of 529; Uniland 470; DHD 448; Eastern Hospitality 410; and LMK 233.

Schoepflin said USA Niagara followed up with all of the firms except for LMK Realty, which was led by Dominick Massaro, who passed away in June 2012.

Several of the firms could do other projects in Niagara Falls, Schoepflin said.

"We feel we could cultivate their interest in the city," he said.


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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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