Hotel Niagara sale expected by end of summer

The Hotel Niagara building in downtown Niagara Falls.

After May reports that the Hotel Niagara’s sale would finalize in June, undisclosed delays have pushed the closure date to the end of summer.

In addition, an invitation obtained by the Niagara Gazette this past week advertises a “rare investment opportunity” at the historic Hotel Niagara, with recipients invited to consider the $199,900 purchase price for a fully furnished suite or the possibility of obtaining a limited quantity of $99,900 suites contingent upon a 120-day payment plan. Private tours are being conducted today.

The Niagara Gazette, and other media outlets, reported from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency that a sale agreement had been reached and a new, 10-year tax abatement worth $3.1 million had been issued to the prospective developer, Reception and Hotels LLC. 

Harry Stinson, a Canadian businessman who controls JSK International, said Friday the tour was “not a sales event” and that the transaction between his company and Reception and Hotels LLC has not been affected since the IDA decision.

An email from Stinson Development offers, “A rare investment opportunity to own a suite in a historic grand hotel overlooking Niagara Falls. The retail price of a suite in the Hotel Niagara is $199,900, fully furnished. However, a limited number will be released for $99,900, if paid in full within 120 days.” 

The email further states that suite owners would then share equally in all revenue streams, including hotel rooms, banquets, weddings, lobby bar, dining room, and parking. The details were to be explained in detail at today’s private preview.

Reception CEO Matthew Shollar said Friday that he was unaware of the activity, but it does not affect the sale.

“It doesn’t technically violate the terms of our agreement,” Shollar said. “This neither changes our interest in the building nor the validity of our agreement with Mr. Stinson.”

Shollar could not confirm a date for the finalization of the sale.

“We are working toward closing as quickly as possible,” he said.

Any sales that did take place at the Hotel Niagara, Stinson said, will be “unwound” as the transaction reaches its official close.

Stinson said any investors in the hotel would have their equity transferred to other projects his company is pursuing, including a building he characterized as a “backup” project located in Western New York, though not in Niagara County.

The Hotel Niagara shuttered its doors in the early 2000s and passed through the hands of multiple economy brands before landing in tax foreclosure. Nearly a decade after its demise, Stinson acquired the property in 2011 with plans to open a luxury hotel by 2013.

Various delays held up the Stinson project, which had its own 10-year tax abatement agreement that lapsed two years before negotiations with Shollar’s company came to light.

A deal between Niagara County Community College and JSK International regarding dormitory space for Niagara Falls Culinary Institute students also dissolved earlier in the year.

IDA Chairman Henry M. Sloma said Reception’s new tax abatement agreement relies upon the company fully acquiring ownership of the hotel.

“Our package is contingent upon doing something with that building,” he said.

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