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Construction Watch: Niagara Falls Hyatt Place

The Hyatt Place hotel at 310 Rainbow Boulevard in Niagara Falls is speeding towards an early 2018 opening. The $35 million project by Hamister Group, LLC broke ground in July 2016. The six-story, 128-room hotel will feature up to 6,600 sq.ft. of meeting and banquet space (including an outdoor patio) on the top floor and 7,000 sq.ft. of retail space along Old Falls Street.

“We have viewed this project as a transformational one for the Niagara Falls area,” said Hamister Group, LLC Chairman and CEO Mark E. Hamister.

R&P Oak Hill Development, LLC is the General Contractor for the project that was designed by Carmina Wood Morris.

View from Sixth Floor Ballroom

Hyatt Place is the first of three high-profile projects that will transform the front door of the Niagara Reservation State Park. Across from the Hyatt Place site, the proposed Wonder Falls Resort project will transform the remaining 200,000 sq.ft. of the former Rainbow Centre shopping mall that has been largely vacant for more than a decade.

Uniland Development’s proposal would offer approximately 300 guest rooms in a 14-floor hotel tower with rooftop dining, a spa, indoor water park, and various retail and food and beverage venues.

Neaby, Brine Wells Development LLC was named preferred developer for the restoration of the historic Hotel Niagara in July. The circa-1924 Hotel Niagara is the oldest standing hotel in Niagara Falls and retains much of the architectural integrity that once made it an iconic piece of the city’s skyline. The approximately $42 million project will transform the 12-story property into a full-service, 130-room upscale hotel with restaurants, lounges and banquet facilities.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • Flyguy2pt0

    Nice to see some activity on the US side. Continue to scratch my head as to why the NY side within a Country whose population is ranked 3rd largest on earth can’t get Niagara Falls developed on the US side. You would think it would be of National tourism interest to attract the biggest and best development interest to make Niagara Falls a shining example. In the meantime Niagara Falls, Ont just approved an additional 2, 36 story and a 56 story high rise hotels with others in the pipeline. We get 5-15 story constructions. How is it that our market is so weak in comparison? I am thankful the State Park is at waters edge to maintain natural character on the NYS side but behind that in downtown NF I hope one day we will see a stunning modern skyline.

    • Vandra

      I consider this stating the obvious, but there are a lot of tall hotels on the Canadian side because they offer an actual view of the falls. The NY side has always suffered from lacking a good viewpoint from which to see the falls. That of course doesn’t mean we shouldn’t offer quality hotels and attractions to maximize tourists, but we’ve always had that major disadvantage.

      • NF Canada also benefits from actually having money, having private investments one after the other, and having a government that doesn’t have a lot of red tape, and look what happens? Busier than ever, clean & well kept, and hey… they have a huge festival of lights. Everything that the USA doesn’t have.

        • Erik

          Yeah, we don’t have haunted houses and all that other tacky stuff that they have.

          • OldFirstWard

            Kids like that stuff. It isn’t all about beer and gambling.

          • We DO have one lame attempt at one that failed miserably. The haunted houses on Clifton Hill & Victoria Ave have been greeting guests since the 80’s and probably earlier, and attract a LOT of people, same with the wax museums, mini-golf courses, skywheel, and an endless choice of restaurants. What does the US side offer? A couple freakin’ punjabi huts, a Friday’s & paled-in-comparison Rainforest Cafe.

            Oh, not to mention they have a 2-mile long very-well maintained Victoria Park, the Oakes Garden Theater, and the Dufferin’ Islands, plus a far superior Hornblower tour boat. But hey, don’t ask me, ask the 20x crowds that are on the Canadian side vs the American side which they prefer.

      • Flyguy2pt0

        I’ll give you that. Yes you are correct. The broad sweeping views of both falls are on the Canadian side. With that said though I am still shocked something of more substance still has not become of NF NY. The Seneca Nation was able to get their project and high rise off the ground in fairly quick time.

        • Vandra

          The Seneca Casino went up quick because it was already publicly built as the Convention Center. They literally remodeled the inside of the one big room and wheeled in the slot machines. Over the years, the other parts were added including the hotel tower, ramp, and concert ballroom. With so much money to be made, Casinos tend to get opened up fast.

    • Johnny Pizza

      Until you squash out the corruption that plagues the politicians and landowners in the city you will see improvement at a snail’s pace. If you need names of those people just pay attention to the people that Matt Richiazzi routinely speaks well of.

      • Flyguy2pt0

        Well, that right there may be a culprit.

      • tanklv

        That is a valid point. That’s why all the signs are so confusing – leading one to Canada if you want to go to Buffalo, and visa versa. Not to mention that ALL of the kiosks on NF Blvd. in Amherst and elsewhere are all trying to sell useless crap THAT YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR, while actually advertising info and directions to the falls, etc. It is designed that way on purpose.
        Of course, all the directional signs in Honolulu, when there are any, are just as confusing directing one to the Airport or to Waikiki. The ones in Vegas seem to be better, but then again you can see the strip and Stratosphere Tower from almost anywhere. Born in Buffalo, live in Honolulu and Vegas.

    • grovercleveland

      The U.S. side has a state park, where the Canadian side builds corny stuff right to the waters edge.

      The City of Niagara Falls has almost no tax base and a horrifically aging infrastructure.

      Its also cold or snowy half the year.

      • grovercleveland

        Ever eat on the Canadian side, or buy anything? They have a tourism tax on top of everything you purchase. It sucks.

        • Flyguy2pt0

          Sucks so much that their side blows ours out of the water and makes our look almost third world in comparison? If their tax is so horrible you would think the NY side would explode in popularity and nobody would go over to the Candaian one. Instead the opposite is true. Bombed out looking Niagara Falls, NY that apparently doesnt have this sucky tourist tax isnt winning any battles. Does the tax help improve their infrastructure and maintain their parks?

      • Flyguy2pt0

        So what does that mean in relation to why Niagara Falls NY has little to nothing and the Canadian side has attracted so much investment and interest? Just accept defeat? The weather didnt seem to keep the numerous investments on the Canada side away. In many circles tourists are recommended even by fellow Americans to avoid the NYS and just stay in Canada. You would think there would be a State and National level interest in getting Niagara Falls NY straightened out and would think private US based developers would want a piece. Instead it sits idle on the NY side comparatively.

        The State park is not the whole of Niagara Falls, NY. Just beyond the state park sits a downtown area that has sat stagnant and depressed for many years. Yes, Canadian side has somewhat encroached on the gorge and falls with attractions (some of them “corny”, yet have a big enough market to stay afloat). Once you travel long distances to see the falls people look for other things to also entertain themselves with while in town. Nobody sits for 10-12 hours a day for multiple days just staring at the falls. To be fair the Canada side does have a gardened park system as well along the gorge even though it may not be as deep as some may like. Tourist based towns are inevitably going to get tourist based attractions. Look at popular beach towns, Las Vegas, etc etc.

        Makes me wonder about the political and procedural climate of the falls. Also, What does the falls’ zoning ordinance look like? How does it compare with the NF Ontario version? Dont care its another Country. They are competing entities that should be mutually beneficial around same attraction.

    • tanklv

      Um – oh – I don’t know – but maybe it has something to do with the fact that YOU CAN VIEW THE FALLS BEST FROM THE SIDE OPPOSITE THE FALLS?!!!
      Just a wild guess here…speaking as one who grew up in Kenmore and everytime we or anyone wanted to actually SEE THE FALLS, we, along with everyone else, WOULD GO TO THE FREEKIN CANADIAN SIDE!!!

  • Daniel Zielinski

    Would love to see this momentum continue. Niagara Falls doesn’t need massive projects, it needs projects that are done right. This means storefronts/hotels built to the curb, streets with some nice landscaping, etc… They already have the falls, it is insane that this area is in the shape that it is

  • Sabres00

    While I’m really glad things are finally taking shape in NF,I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a worse person or place to work for then Mark Hamister and Hamister Group.

  • What a waste of space. Dyster & Hammister basically blew each other to get this project off the ground… and it looks like a basic small suburban hotel project. There’s nothing unique about it. It’s also very small and takes probably the best footprint in the Falls. One more reason Dyster has to be voted out next election.

    • grovercleveland

      this is not at all accurate

      • It’s fairly accurate. Those two were in bed with each other to get this deal through. Nobody wanted it. They wanted bigger & better, and especially they didn’t want Hammister because he’s just a big a weasel as Dyster is.

        • grovercleveland

          Is that you Frank Parlato?

    • Erik

      Tourists don’t care. Nobody cares. Better than nothing. Move on.

      • Actually, the tourists do care. Why do you think that the American side is like a wasteland ghost-town sparse with people & entertainment while the Canadian side is sometimes wall-to-wall people on the same night?

        The NY side of the city has been ran into the ground since forever. Treating it at first as an industry, and then an urban renewal, and now a failed attempt at tourism. The only thing going for it is Goat Island, and even that… it’s revival came at a huge paycheck to its contractors and the state park has moved at such a sluggish level reviving the park, that it’s literally been over 10 years and they still got a year to go before they finish… on top of the bridges that need to be replaced, but will be fighting anyone & everyone along the way because lord knows all hell will break loose if they slow the falls down to replace them, even though that would be a huge tourist draw in & of itself since the Falls is still flowing, just re-directed to the Horseshoe Falls.

        • tanklv

          Me and my Grandmother and Aunt were there and walked to the brink the last time they did that. Couldn’t believe no-one else in the family wanted to go with us! Nobody! Have pics somewhere. Remember fish were trapped in the various puddles left over.

    • tanklv

      If they actually did “blow each other” – wouldn’t that be a side benefit? I imagine businessmen would be a lot more pleasant the rest of the work day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  • Nina

    How much did they pay for this ad?

  • Daktari100

    It’s great to see the first new construction in downtown Niagara Falls in, literally, decades. We should be celebrating the fact that developers finally are willing to take the risk. And banks, in this case Goldman Sachs, are willing to finance these projects. Banquet space on the top floor, retail space on the ground floor, and 128 hotel rooms will add a lot of vibrancy right where it’s needed most. And we have all these negative comments about how much NF NY sucks compared to NF ON. It’s very difficult to change the mindset of the locals, and that right there is a big source of the Falls’ problems. Once again we’re our own worst enemy.