Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 3, 2013

Council majority wants to table sales agreement for parcel in downtown hotel project

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — USA Niagara's board is scheduled on Monday to be asked to approve a series of items needed to advance the project, including a formal development agreement with Hamister. 

"We respectfully encourage the council to deliver its part of this transaction that will result in the first new, non-casino building in the downtown tourism district in approximately 40 years," Magee said. "The project will produce construction and permanent jobs, new tax revenues and economic activity that will substantially contribute to the revitalization of downtown Niagara Falls."

Dyster said all council members, including those in the council majority, were made aware of the various elements of the proposal throughout the process. He noted that Johnson, who works on behalf of both the mayor's office and the city council, has been involved in numerous meetings in recent months.  

Dyster also said it was made clear early on that although the city was not in a financial position at the time to offer financial support, it could contribute to the project by turning over the land needed to make the hotel possible. He stressed that the parcel was not in the city's hands prior to the effort to secure the rights to the Rainbow Mall building for NCCC's new culinary arts center, a project supported with millions of dollars in revenue from the state of New York through USA Niagara. 

"It was very well understood what the city was going to contribute to this deal," Dyster said.

Councilwoman Kristin Grandinetti agreed, saying council members were fully briefed on various aspects of the project back in February when they selected Hamister as the preferred developer. 

She said her colleagues are now omitting another important financial aspect of the current proposal — a section of the agreement that will allow the city to annually receive significant amounts of parking revenue under an agreement by Hamister to lease spaces inside the city owned ramp downtown. 

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