Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 16, 2013

Anderson breaking ranks with council majority to vote 'yes' on Hamister hotel project

A series of discussions last week with a high-ranking state economic development official have convinced one of three members of the Niagara Falls City Council majority to reverse course on the stalled $25 million hotel project.

During a press conference Monday morning at Conference Center Niagara Falls, Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. announced plans to push for approval of a tabled agreement to allow Buffalo developer Mark Hamister to build a hotel on city owned land located at 310 Rainbow Blvd. 

Anderson, who has for weeks joined Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian and Councilman Sam Fruscione in questioning elements of the hotel proposal, credited his change of heart to a series of conversations he had late last week with Sam Hoyt, the former state assemblyman who was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to lead state economic development efforts in Western New York, including Niagara Falls. 

After being assured by Hoyt that several of his concerns about the Hamister deal would ultimately be addressed, Anderson said he has decided to put his support behind it. It is now expected Anderson will join fellow city lawmakers Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker in removing the item from the table and voting to approve it during tonight's council meeting.

"Those areas were resolved within the last 72 hours and it makes me feel good to know that now we can pull this item off the table and move forward," Anderson said. 

Anderson said Hoyt and his office agreed to his request for assurances that Hamister will use laborers from Niagara Falls and Niagara County as the project proceeds. He said the state also agreed to make sure Hamister has a performance bond in place before construction starts, adding that he believes the item will better protect the city and state's interests should the developer experience any setbacks. 

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