Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 24, 2013

City council heading to a hotel vote?

Niagara Gazette — The future of a proposed $25 million hotel project in downtown Niagara Falls remained uncertain late Tuesday.

On the eve of what is expected to be a council vote on whether to reconsider an agreement that would see the transfer a parcel of city-owned land to allow Buffalo-based Hamister Group to build a hotel on the site, city council Chairman Glenn Choolokian said he intends to hold firm to his position that the terms of the deal are not in the best interest of Niagara Falls or its residents.

“It’s not going to be sold for $100,000,” Choolokian said, referring to the current amount listed for the land located at 310 Rainbow Blvd. in the terms outlined in the development agreement.

The future of the deal may ultimately depend upon the votes of Choolokian’s colleagues in the council majority — Sam Fruscione and Robert Anderson Jr. 

Anderson did not indicate which way he would vote when reached for comment on Tuesday. He said he still has a lot of questions and will wait to talk to his colleagues today before making his decision. 

Fruscione, who was out of town on vacation in recent days, indicated last week that he was not prepared to disclose how he intends to vote on the matter during tonight’s council meeting. 

On July 8, the council majority voted to table a development agreement that would have allowed the project to move forward under the negotiated terms.

All three council members expressed concerns over the $100,000 the city would get in exchange for the parcel under the proposed development agreement involving Hamister, the city and the state-run USA Niagara Development Corp.

They have consistently pointed to an email Choolokian received from City Assessor James Bird who estimated earlier this month that the land could be worth between $1.5 million and $2 million.

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