The Lafayette Hotel's grand opening will be celebrated on May 29 with a black tie affair, but the building is already hosting events and recently welcomed residents. The first apartment tenants took occupancy on May 1 (95 of 115 units have already been leased) as workers finish up work on the building's lower floors that will house a mix of restaurant and retail tenants, and on the second floor, hotel guests. The 34-room boutique hotel, to be run by Pearl Street Grill managing partner Earl Ketry, is scheduled to open at the end of the month (sources say this won't be Ketry's only hotel downtown).
Developer Rocco Termini, contractors, and craftsmen had their work cut out for them. While few alterations had been made to the landmark's exterior since the building's construction and subsequent expansions, the same cannot be said of the interior. Unsympathetic renovations and painting, neglect, and water damage had taken their toll on the ornate interior.
The 367-room Lafayette Hotel, in its prime, was considered one of the 15 finest hotels in the country. It was designed principally by Louise Blanchard Bethune, the first professional woman architect in the country, the first female member of the American Institute of Architects, and the first woman to be made a Fellow of the A.I.A. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, each space is more stunning than the next- all have different colors and finishes yet they all tie together beautifully. Commercial tenants have begun building out their individual spaces. Renovation plans for the $42 million project were prepared by architecture, engineering and interior design firm Carmina Wood Morris. R&P Oak Hill is the general contractor.
From Newell's recent project update post:
The Hotel Lafayette will ultimately become a paradise for couples looking to tie the knot. From a flower shop and a cakery to formalwear and a wedding registry. Catering, banquet halls, live music stages, multiple bars and restaurants, a grand lobby, hotel rooms furnished by 'room' with two-way fireplaces and elevated beds... there are even two banquet rooms on the top floor. One will have an atrium and the other industrial skylights, a kitchen, a bar and easy access to hotel rooms on the same floor (see slide show). The Hotel Lafayette will be a one stop shop for wedding parties that are looking for the utmost in luxury and convenience.
Yesterday, the Buffalo News gave the project some much-deserved love. Below are some 'before' and late-April pictures.
First floor main hallway and lobby:
Marquis de Lafayette grand ballroom: