By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette —
The city's planning board has approved a resolution to abandon a portion of a downtown alley to make way for a new hotel.
The board voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend the city council hand a plot of public land - the alley that runs from Third Street to Fourth Street between Rainbow Boulevard and Buffalo Avenue - over to hotelier Frank Strangio. The city council is expected to consider approval of the planning board's recommendation following a public hearing later this month.
Strangio, who owns the Quality Inn on Niagara Falls Boulevard and the attached Antonio's Banquet and Conference Center with his brother and father, said that in order to build a hotel on property surrounding the site they will need to use the city-owned alley.
"The potential hotel that we envision would only fit on the land if it were to overlap that alley," Strangio said. "So we're asking for the city to [abandon the allley] and we think that it's got great potential for future development."
Strangio said that his family is in the process of purchasing the land.
"But, again, the purchase is contingent upon the abandonment of the alley," Strangio said.
The proposed hotel, which would take up the two parcels that run from Buffalo Avenue to Rainbow Boulevard along Fourth Street, is only in the conceptual phase of planning, according to Strangio who said early ideas for the development include a 100- to 120-room hotel, restaurant and retail space.
"We have an idea," Strangio said. "It will be more concrete soon."
Strangio said that not all of the funding plans are in place, adding that design work is needed as well.
"Next would be to design what we're going to do and then we would consider every option," Strangio said.
Planning Board Chairman Rick Smith said Wednesday he wanted to be sure Strangio understood that the hotel will need to meet all of the planning board's code and design specifications because it is in a design overlay district.
"We'd like that assurance, that when you're ready to bring it to us you're going to follow the laws," Smith said.
Strangio assured board members that he understands any future hotel plans would need to meet the planning board's standards.
"We're Niagara Falls guys," Strangio said. "We want to see Niagara Falls do well and we want to work with everybody here."