City development officials OK $250K grant for hotel

Contributed imageA rendering of the Cambria Niagara Falls, a new downtown hotel and residential facility. The $17.8 project is planned for Rainbow Boulevard and Buffalo Avenue.

The Falls' NFC Development Corp. has approved a grant of $250,000 to help finance the construction of a new upscale hotel in the city's South End.

The corporation's board of directors unanimously approved the NFC Downtown Tourism Assistance grant for Plati Niagara, doing business as Cambria Hotel Niagara Falls. The $17.8 million project is led by veteran hotelier Frank Strangio and his family.

The proposed seven-story, 120-room hotel will be located at 311 Rainbow Blvd., with three market-rate apartment buildings also set to be built along Buffalo Avenue as part of the project.

"We're getting an upscale hotel, something we've identified as a need and we're also getting residential, which we've identified as a big need," Falls Senior Planner Tom DeSantis told the NFC Board. "So we strongly recommend this project."

The project recently received approval from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for a 10-year tax abatement. The tax break is valued at $2.5 million. 

The Cambria Hotel Niagara Falls will join two other Strangio properties in the South End tourist district, the Quality Inn and Wingate by Wyndham.

Strangio said the project is the result of what his company sees as an economic development upswing in the Falls. The hotelier said the residential component of the project is a reflection of what local developers believe is a growing demand for market-rate housing.

"I think so," Strangio said. "I think there is some demand we're seeing with properties like the Parkway (Condominiums) and the Jefferson (Apartments) filling up. I think downtown is on the upswing and we want to be out front on that."

Plati Niagara has represented to the NCIDA that the project will add 35 permanent jobs, 27 of which would be salaried at about $20,000, with at least four management positions offering $50,000 salaries.

The NFC board also green-lighted a $10,000 micro-enterprise grant for Judas Tree, an aperitvo bar set to open in the 1500 block of Pine Avenue. The funds, part of a $213,000 project, will be used for renovations and to purchase equipment.

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