Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 6, 2013

Cuomo kept Hamister from walking away from Falls hotel project

(Continued)

"It sends the wrong message to people who want to do business in Niagara Falls," Hamister said.

The developer said he is considering legal action.

Fruscione told the Gazette on Wednesday that he had nothing to do with the mailer and disagreed with the characterization of Hamister as a criminal, but did agree with the information praising his questioning of the terms.

The Hamister Group was selected as the preferred developer for a city-owned parcel at 310 Rainbow Blvd. in February of 2012, the result of a request for proposals process led by the state's local economic development arm USA Niagara Development Corp., a decision that was approved unanimously by the City Council.

The company and USA Niagara then negotiated the terms of the deal - the developer would receive the parcel for $100,000 and a state grant of $2.75 million and would fund the remainder of the $25.3 million project — and brought the proposed development agreement to the council for approval in July.

A trio of council members — Fruscione, Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian and Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. — voted to table the deal saying that the state run procurement process lacked transparency and raising concerns over the price of the land and the lack of protective measures for the city in the proposed terms.

Hamister said he will stick to his stated deadline of the end of September for movement on the project before walking away, but that after talking to Cuomo and local officials he is confident that an agreement can be reached even sooner.

"We're hoping to get it wrapped up in the next one to two weeks," Hamister said.

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