Niagara Gazette — Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Niagara Falls on Thursday to celebrate the approval of a $25 million hotel project.
Cuomo and the project's developer, Mark Hamister, signed a ceremonial agreement in anticipation of the actual development agreement which is expected to be finalized by early October.
Cuomo called the proposed hotel, residential and retail building a “significant project” for the city, one that he believes could help turn the tide of development in Niagara Falls.
“There is a different dynamic and there is a different attitude and there is a different energy about Niagara Falls,” Cuomo said.
The project looked as though it may unravel in recent weeks as Hamister was prepared to walk away after three members of the city council – Chairman Glenn Choolokian, Councilman Sam Fruscione and Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. – tabled a proposed development agreement on July 8. After several weeks in which council majority members questioned elements of the proposal, Hamister called a press conference on Sept. 6 where he planned to announce that he was walking away from the project. He decided to stay on after talking with Cuomo who promised to personally intervene to get the deal done.
Hamister described his experience in recent months as “extremely frustrating,” but said he was glad Cuomo called and convinced him to stick to it.
“I believe that we are standing here today celebrating the next phase of this project because of his personal time and his personal commitment to bringing the parties together for a good resolution,” Hamister said.
Hamister described being excited by the opportunity in the Falls and said he views his company's project as the next step in a new direction for the city.
“I believe this is the right time for Niagara Falls and I believe this is the right time for this project,” Hamister said.