Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 21, 2013

Still unclear if council majority will act on $25M project at Wednesday's meeting

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Dyster fears failure by the majority to approve the deal could result in the developer walking away from the project, which represents a $9-to-$1 private versus public investment ratio, according to state economic development officials.

“The project could fall by the wayside,” Dyster said.

Grandinetti and Walker have both said that they will push their colleagues to vote on the matter during Wednesday’s meeting.

Grandinetti said she is worried about the message the council would be sending to other developers if the Hamister deal unravels.

“If we screw this deal up, we’re going to tell the whole world that we’re not ready to move forward,” she said.

But it remains unclear whether a vote will take place as Fruscione — who was on vacation when reached by phone Friday — said he would only make a decision on whether to remove the item from the table after discussing the matter with his colleagues.

“I have no clue what I’m going to do right now,” Fruscione said.

Anderson did not return several phone calls seeking comment on Friday.

Choolokian said he will vote to keep the item tabled until the council has more thoroughly researched the value of the land.

“There’s no rush to speed it up,” he said. “We’re going to slow it down.”

Choolokian said, with the deal already over a year in the making, he does not believe that Hamister Group would walk away from the project if a decision is not reached before the council’s August recess.

“I don’t think another month or two is going to kill the project,” he said.

Andrea Czopp, the director of communications for Hamister Group, would not say exactly what would happen with the project if the council goes to August recess without taking action on the measure.

The company will wait and see what happens with the council meeting next week, she said.

“We think it’s best to let them sort out the details before making any decisions regarding the future of the project,” Czopp said.

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257

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