More changes are coming to the downtown hotel scene. Harry Stinson is planning on converting 200 of the Buffalo Grand’s 484 hotel rooms to apartments. Stinson bought the Adam’s Mark hotel in 2018 and has been undertaking a number of upgrades to the property which opened in 1980. Stinson tells WKBW that the decision to reduce the number of hotel rooms was contemplated prior to the hotel closing due to the coronavirus.
Buffalo Business First has some details:
Stinson said he plans on reopening the Buffalo Grand by no later than July 1. The hotel will have 286 rooms available while the others will be in the process of being renovated into either studio or one-bedroom apartments. The apartments will be located on the Buffalo Grand’s upper floors while the hotel rooms will be centered on the lower floors.
When we asked about the process moving forward, Stinson said, “This idea has actually been in the works for some time. When everything shut down, we had to think very carefully, and decided that we would not close down or give up. It’s an aggravated situation, but the process of converting the units into apartments is easier because it’s a hotel, not an office building. We are going to convert the hotel rooms into one bedroom apartments and/or efficient studios. The studios will have automated Murphy beds that, with a touch of a button go back into the wall, creating more room for someone during the day when they are not sleeping. There are no structural maneuvers – we’re barely even changing the plumbing.”
Stinson mentioned that he will be testing the market by creating a couple of model units that should be ready in a few months. He hopes that the conversion project will be completed by the end of the year. While he is not locking into exact number of apartments, he believes that the market will ultimately allow for half of the units to be converted. He noted that there has been a very good response to the idea.
As for the 72,000 square feet of event space, Stinson said that the building is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the social distancing measures that people will continue to take for some time. “People are going to require a lot more square footage than before,” he explained. “They will be looking for big open spaces – when it comes to Buffalo, there’s really only The Convention Center and us. There’s a cloud over the hotel business right now, as witnessed with the closing of The Hyatt. People are going to need us to accommodate conventions and weddings. We have 72,000 square feet of elbow room. We’re already booking weddings that originally looked at other venues which would have been tight accommodating 400 guests. We can do that no problem.”
Stinson credits his ability to pivot quickly with being an independent operator. “This all came together yesterday,” he said. “We needed to get serious about reopening, and what the future of the building would be. It’s time for a good story.”
The change in plans comes one day after Hyatt Corp. announced it is pulling its name off of the Snyder Corporation’s Main Street hotel. The future of the property remains up in the air as The Buffalo News is reporting Snyder missed an April mortgage payment and the loan on the property has been on a “watch list” since last year. Earlier this year plans for a 400-room Wyndham Hotel in the former AM&A’s Department Store were dropped in favor of offices and residential space.