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Construction Watch: Hamister Busy in Buffalo, Hampered in Falls

It may not be clearly evident from the outside, but construction crews are busy preparing Lafayette Square’s Tishman Building for a mixed-use future.  Hotel rooms, office space and eighteen apartments will bring 24/7 life to the strategic downtown corner.  The 20-story building had struggled to attract office tenants since National Fuel moved out in 2003.  Hamister Group Inc. purchased the property in December and started work on the $35 million project earlier this year.

A 123-room Hilton Garden Inn will occupy the first 14 floors.  There will be three floors of apartments above the hotel and three floors of office space on floors 18 through 20.  Carmina Wood Morris is project architect.

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Plans call for a bar/lounge and business center for Hilton Garden Inn guests on the first floor.  The second floor will contain the food service operations and a buffet area for hotel guests. Conference rooms will occupy the third floor.  A fitness center and pool will be located on floors four through six on the north side of the building, windowless due to the adjacent Lafayette Court Building.


A drop-off area for hotel guests will be constructed along the Lafayette Square side of the building. The porte-cochere and bump-out are designed as to not interfere with the Main Street re-traffic project. Valet parking will be provided.

Hamister Group offices will be located on the 18th through 20th floors. The company is relocating its offices from Amherst.

Minimal exterior changes are planned, though the single-paned windows will be replaced with double-paned that match the originals.  The building has been listed on the National Register not so much because of the  International style of the building, but because of the architect, Emery Roth & Sons.  Emery Roth was hired by Tishman Realty & Development to design the Tishman Building.  It was completed in 1958.


Meanwhile in Niagara Falls, Hamister’s plans for a mixed use development at the gateway to the Niagara Reservation State Park are being stonewalled by the Niagara Falls City Council.  Hamister was selected as designated developer for the long-vacant parcel at Old Falls Street and Rainbow Boulevard early last year beating out six other proposals.  Hamister’s $22.4 million prject was determined to best meet the objective of creating a relatively high-density mix of uses with a focus on active ground-level development that would contribute to visitor and resident offerings along historic Old Falls Street.

The $25 million project calls for 104 upscale hotel rooms, 24 residential units and up 8,000 square feet of retail space.  Carmina Wood Morris is also designing this project.

Council majority members question the developer selection process that was overseen by USA Niagara Development Corp., a state agency.  They also believe the parcel should be sold for more than the agreed upon $100,000 and claim it is worth nearly $2 million.  The sale agreement was tabled at an earlier meeting but the Council may reconsider the matter later this week.

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Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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