By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette — A downtown hotel project will get a boost from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
Plati Niagara Inc., a hotel management company owned by local hoteliers, the Strangio family, will benefit from a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement on a new, high-end hotel project it is planning to undertake on Rainbow Boulevard. The NCIDA's board of directors voted Wednesday to unanimously approve the sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions for the project.
Frank Strangio, vice president of the family's hotel business, said he is planning to sign a contract on his desk that will make the planned 110-room hotel a Wingate by Wyndham franchise.
"There is a demand for a little bit of a higher end property," Strangio said.
Strangio said the tax breaks will be important in helping the new business "keep its head above water.
"These incentives are important because when you are building a new business it can be difficult to get on your feet," Strangio said. "If a new project doesn't come up or the business fails then there is no tax benefit for the taxpayer."
The Strangio family owns and operates the Quality Inn Hotel and Antonio's Banquet and Conference Center on Niagara Falls Boulevard.
The tax incentives will save the family about $1.5 million during the course of the 10-year PILOT while NCIDA officials estimate the project will provide about $1.9 million in community benefit.
Scott Kiedrowski, the NCIDA board's chairperson, said providing high-end accommodations will help the Falls grow its tourism sector.
"I really believe it's in the best interest of the community to have another hotel to service the masses of people that they claim come to the Falls," Kiedrowski said.
Kiedrowski said the board's decision to approve the tax break was unrelated to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement that the state would provide $10 million for the Robert Moses Parkway South project as part of the "Buffalo Billion" initiative, but that project will only help hotel projects in the city.
"It dovetails perfectly into that announcement yesterday that some of the Buffalo billion is going to be coming to Niagara Falls to work on the parkway," Kiedrowski said. "Some feel it's a barrier. If in fact it is, it will be removed and that will hopefully bring some more tourism down to the Falls."Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257