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Audio: Cuomo comes to Falls to celebrate Hamister deal

(Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Updated 2:35 p.m.

NIAGARA FALLS - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and developer Mark Hamister signed a ceremonial agreement this morning for the $25.3 million hotel, apartment and retail project downtown.

Cuomo got personally involved in the proposed development two weeks ago after a political mailer almost made Hamister walk away.

"Mr. Hamister, I can't tell you how grateful we are that you gave us the benefit of the doubt," Cuomo  said during an event in the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls.

Listen to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster's introduction of Cuomo and the governor's remarks:

Hamister said he expects to break ground on the project sometime in the second half of 2014.

While he said he has yet to apply for a franchise agreement for the hotel, Hamister said the hotel will likely be either a Hilton, Marriott or Intercontinental.

"I suppose you can read into my order of things in that response," he said.

Second Starbucks planned in Niagara Falls

A Starbucks is planned for the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Factory Outlet Boulevard.

The store, which will have a drive-thru, will be part of a retail plaza that will include an LA Fitness opening later this year.

The national coffee giant will take up 1,750 square feet in a 6,000-square-foot structure to be built as part of the plaza. The use of the rest of the building has not been disclosed to city officials.

Continue reading "Second Starbucks planned in Niagara Falls" »

Niagara Falls Boulevard motel project gets first needed city approval

A proposal that would double the number of rooms at a Niagara Falls Boulevard motel passed its first round of scrutiny on Tuesday night.

The owner of the Budget Host Inn, 6621 Niagara Falls Blvd., got approval for two variances from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals.

The project calls for the motel to jump from 30 to 64 rooms by adding a second floor, said owner Dharan Shah. Renovations will also move the motel's pool, create a fitness room and breakfast room, as well as more office space, Shah said.

Continue reading "Niagara Falls Boulevard motel project gets first needed city approval" »

Audio: Falls lawmakers approve Hamister project

Update: 9:13 p.m.

NIAGARA FALLS - The City Council has voted 3-2 to approve the $25.3 million development proposal from the Hamister Group.

Councilman Bob Anderson announced earlier today he was supporting the project.

Chairman Glenn Choolokian and Councilman Sam Fruscione voted against it.

Listen to the discussion by Council members during tonight's vote:

Documents involving the Hamister's Niagara Falls project

With Bob Anderson announcing his support for the project, the Niagara Falls City Council appears to have three members who will move the item off the table at tonight's meeting and approve it.

Below you will find the Council resolution that was tabled in early July. It's exactly the same thing that lawmakers will vote on tonight.

There is also an Aug. 5 memo from the three-member majority asking for more information, as well as an Aug. 14 memo from Corporation Counsel Craig H. Johnson that addresses each question.

City Council resolution on Hamister project

Continue reading "Documents involving the Hamister's Niagara Falls project" »

Anderson now supports Hamister project

Photo (9) copy
Sam Hoyt, regional head of Empire State Development, right, announces that Niagara Falls Councilman Robert A. Anderson Jr., left, now supports the $25.3 million development proposal from the Hamister Group.

Updated 1:28 p.m.

NIAGARA FALLS - Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. now supports the Hamister Group's development proposal, giving the $25.3 million project the three votes it needs to move ahead at tonight's City Council meeting.

Anderson joins Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and Councilman Charles Walker, who have previously announced their support of the Hamister Group's hotel, apartment and retail proposal.

Anderson had been voting with Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian and Councilman Sam Fruscione on the project since the group in early July tabled a proposal to sell the land at 310 Rainbow Blvd. and reach a development agreement with the Hamister Group.

Anderson said his three main concerns were addressed during conversations with Sam Hoyt, regional head of Empire State Development, over the last 72 hours.

Anderson said he's received assurances about issues concerning the hiring of local workers in the construction, a performance bond for the project and whether the city would be on the hook for liens on the property should the project not be completed.

Continue reading "Anderson now supports Hamister project" »

UB prof: Niagara Falls needs critical mass of distinctive attractions

775841 Niagara Falls GEE10
(Photo credit: Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

I wrote a story that appeared on today's front page about how officials want tourists to stay longer in the Falls but how visitors say there's nothing to do here.

I did talk to some visitors who said they absolutely loved it here - much of the time it was for the natural qualities this side offers.

But while some people do enjoy it, not enough people are staying. City and state economic development officials see the obvious need to try to get them to stay longer, spend more money while here, etc.

Continue reading "UB prof: Niagara Falls needs critical mass of distinctive attractions" »

Niagara Falls headlines

Maid of the Mist Corp. is rebuffed on easement at Falls hotel site

Police are still searching for a missing man above Niagara Falls

Falls to be illuminated Sunday for Lymphoma Awareness Day

Proposal made for new Niagara Falls Boulevard hotel

A 72-room Comfort Suites hotel has been proposed for 7001 Niagara Falls Blvd. by an entity known as Sunrise Lodging.

The proposal will come before the city's Planning Board when it meets at 6 p.m. today in City Hall.

According to the agenda, the board is looking to set a public hearing on the proposal.

Continue reading "Proposal made for new Niagara Falls Boulevard hotel" »

Falls' September 11th remembrance this morning

City officials will gather at Firehouse No. 8 this morning to remember the events that happened 12 years ago.

The ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the firehouse, at Hyde Park Boulevard and Royal Avenue. Mayor Paul A. Dyster, Fire Chief Thomas Colangelo and Police Chief Bryan DalPorto will address those gathered. The public is invited to attend.

For information on opportunities to volunteer on this National Day of Service, visit

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About The Brink

Tales of a world-famous natural wonder and the city that surrounds it. The Brink is home for all you need to know about Niagara Falls, N.Y.

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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