Niagara Gazette — It's starting to happen for this city. And for that, on this day to give thanks, we should all be grateful.
Sometimes it helps to see the details collected in one spot to get a feel for the scope of change that just might be coming.
So, first let's look at what's already in place:
• The Niagara Falls Culinary Institute: I can't think of anything that's made me happier in the city this year. It's a showplace with three great restaurant options and a Barnes & Nobles. What more could a foodie ask for?
• The Niagara Falls International Airport: I know. The new airport's been open since 2009, but this year was the first year I flew in and out of the place two different times. It was a revelation to me with easy access and parking, no waiting at the security check and comfortable waiting areas.
• The Giacomo Hotel: Again, old news, but the elegant residence and boutique hotel brings an upscale stability to downtown, along with the much-needed presence of humans.
• The Rainbow mall expansion: Two respected developers, Uniland and Intertrust, have been selected to offer proposals to transform the remainder of the former Rainbow Centre — beyond the culinary institute. Their plans could create all sorts of exciting new attractions downtown.
• The Hamister Hotel: The $25 million hotel deal offered by developer Mark Hamister, with the help of a $2.75 million state grant, finally fought its way through the City Council, and will result is a high end retail and residential facility providing much needed upscale hotel space. Construction should start this spring.
The Fallside Hotel: Developer Faisal Merani is continuing his campaign of renovating city hotels, including the Inn by the River and the Holiday Inn. Next is the Fallside Hotel and Conference Center on Buffalo Avenue. Merani has obtained $2 million grant from Empire State Development Corp. and another $750,000 from USA Niagara — to help complete the $18 million renovation.