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Drawing The Curtain on Hotel Henry

It’s hard to imagine the Richardson-Olmsted Complex without Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center, but that’s the latest news – the closing of the nationally acclaimed, award-winning hotel.

It was with great fanfare that the hotel opened, in the sprawling, newly renovated HH Richardson Building. The unveiling marked a new day and age for this city, mostly because nobody ever thought it would happen. Everyone assumed that the building complex would continue to rot, as it had for years. Thankfully, that was not the case. Not only was the building saved, achieving National Historic Landmark status, it turned out to be a beacon of hope and symbol of this city’s rebirth.

But now, due mostly to the pandemic, and its hampering of the Hotel’s ability to operate anywhere near full capacity, an agreement has been made between the Hotel and the Richardson Center Development Corporation (RCDC) to terminate the initial 10-year lease term in advance of the expiration of the agreement, effective February 27, 2021.

“We have been committed to bringing new life to these historic buildings,” said Diana Principe, Hotel Henry Executive. “The impact that Hotel Henry has had on the region, what we have created together with the community in just three short years, is quite remarkable.”

It was back in 2017, when we ran this post about the excitement that was being generated in advance of the Hotel’s opening. Just a few years later, the curtains will now be drawn closed, ending a relatively short, but epic run.

“Building and running a hotel business within a vast repurposed historic structure is both an advantage and a challenge, presenting difficulties and costs that other hotels simply don’t incur,” said Dennis Murphy, Hotel Henry Company Member. “As Hotel Henry entered 2020, the business was on track to a second year of healthy profit.  The global pandemic completely changed that. There is no doubt Hotel Henry was fiscally battered in 2020 with 75% of projected revenue lost to COVID’s impact, but we continued to evolve our business model to pivot toward every opportunity to persevere into 2021 and to honor the hotel’s commitments.  Hotel Henry is a casualty of a pandemic that unfortunately has put us and many United States hotels out of business.”

“This unexpected turn is a loss for our coworkers, neighbors, collaborating organizations, and small business vendors who championed and relied on Hotel Henry,” continued Principe. “It is our hope that the spirit and vitality of what Hotel Henry has become for our community, the foundation Hotel Henry has created for the campus, continues forward.”

“Hotel Henry has been great to work with and transparent with us about the challenges they have been facing,” said Mark Mortenson, President, Richardson Center Corporation.  “As their landlord, we can appreciate the unprecedented challenge the pandemic has had on their business and the travel and lodging sector in general.  As the steward of the Richardson Olmsted Campus, our priority is to identify an ongoing use for this asset in conjunction with our ongoing reuse efforts for the remaining buildings on the campus.”

Lead image courtesy Hotel Henry

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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