Niagara Gazette — A downtown hotel expansion is set to begin construction in the coming weeks.
The Niagara Falls Planning Board on Wednesday approved a site plan for a new Tony Roma's restaurant and arcade at the Holiday Inn located at 114 Buffalo Ave.
James Boy, president and CEO of the architecture firm hired by the hotel owners, the Merani family, said that with the board approval he will submit plans for building permits within a few days.
"We're talking September to open right now," Boy said.
The expansion will include the one-and-a-half-story restaurant and two-story arcade, totaling more than 10,000 square feet.
The Meranis were granted a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency and a pair of grants totaling $1.1 million from the state-run USA Niagara Development Corp. and the city of Niagara Falls for the expansion project and other interior renovations.
The only board discussion on the project revolved around concerns over the placement of the hotel dumpster.
The plans submitted to the board showed the dumpster site being moved roughly 40 feet closer to Rainbow Boulevard than the current location.
Rick Smith, the planning board chairman, told Boy he didn't want to see the dumpster moved closer to the sidewalk where tourist will be passing by.
"I don't want people coming in from walking past there and the first thing they see is garbage everywhere," Smith said.
Boy agreed to the request before the board voted unanimously for site plan approval.
"If you really want it back there and that's the only sticking point then we'll move it back to where it is," Boy said.
In other matters, the planning board:
• approved a site plan for 630 Main St., the building that currently houses the offices of the Niagara Hub and the proposed location of a new farmer and artisans market. Robert Brawn, owner of Custom Bench, is collaborating with other business owners and community stakeholders to open the market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and possibly on the weekend with permanent huts, pop-up tents and interior space for merchants. Organizers hope to open in May.