Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 6, 2013

Hotel projects debated

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "Mr. Patel, to me, has proven that he's been a good neighbor, he's been a good business person and he's willing to invest money here in Niagara Falls," Anderluh said.

The second hotel project seeking tax breaks involves a proposed renovation of the Comfort Inn located on Prospect Pointe. The owners - Maid of the Mist Hospitality, LLC - are seeking a 10-year commercial PILOT that would save the company $743,000 during the course of the agreement. The renovation, which the owners say is necessary for the hotel to retain its Comfort Inn flagship, would retain the equivalent of 40 full-time jobs and would add the equivalent of three full-time jobs, according to the project summary from the NCIDA.

The mayor's office did not send a representative to speak on this tax break at the hearing because it is in support of it, Dyster said.

"We have no objections to this deal because it is a standard 10-year PILOT," Dyster said.

Many downtown hotels have received tax breaks for renovations, Dyster said.

"We don't want our hotels to lose their flags," Dyster said. "We want to help them upgrade if possible."

Several people spoke out against the tax break deal for the Comfort Inn site, saying that the owners should not get a tax deal simply because they need to renovate their own property to maintain its flagship.

Richard Smith, chairman of the Niagara Falls Planning Board, said the company must have known that the renovations would be needed when they purchased the building.

"I don't feel the city taxpayers should have to burden the pain for their renovations," Smith said.

Smith said the number of jobs the company says it will add are not worthy of the amount of money the company will save in taxes.

"If (the NCIDA) give this PILOT, I'm coming back with an application to have my house done," Smith said.

Public comments solicited during both hearings will be taken into consideration when the NCIDA's board meets at a later date to consider the tax break applications for approval. 

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