Owners of the One Niagara Welcome Center will pursue the establishment of a family entertainment center while a proposal for a weather center and museum remains possible.
The family entertainment center project, which received a Niagara County Industrial Development Agency tax break package earlier this year, also received a $1 million grant from the Niagara Falls Tourism Target Zone fund overseen by the IDA this week.
Paul Grenga, a local attorney in the group that owns the nine-story property at 360 Rainbow Blvd., said the group is "grateful" for the organization's assistance.
"We’re excited, every tenant in the building is excited," he said Friday.
The pitch to the IDA includes what the ownership described as North America's first "diamond cutting museum and retail outlet," as well as rope courses, arcade, two 50-seat "4D" motion simulation theaters and other offerings, as well as improvements to the landscaping and parking lot.
The application submitted to the IDA say work as part of an initial phase began earlier this month and will continue until spring of next year. The documents describe phase one as including exterior paving and drainage improvements, the addition of fencing and landscaping, and the construction of a permanent outdoor market.
"The development of the Diamond Cutting Center Museum and retail outlet on the second floor of the building is under way and anticipated to be complete by mid-summer 2020," the application said.
Phase two is slated to commence in the fall with a tentative completion date in 2020. It will inolve the installation of the theaters and rope course, along with infrastructure and facade updates. The final stage of construction will see floors four to eight of the building outfitted with lodging, an eatery and banquet facility.
Grenga said he considers the work related to the family entertainment center to have overlap with preparation for the weather center project, if it comes to fruition.
"They’re not inconsistent," he said.
Former IDA Board of Directors member John Simon sought the assistance of the Niagara River Greenway Commission through a $351,000 award to develop a digital app meant to operate in conjunction with the center. He described it as a $138 million project that will incorporate “multi-sensory weather-related exhibits and experiences."
Last month, the IDA approved a tax abatement package for the project valued at $2.46 million.
The application calls for the creation of 33 jobs as a result of the improvements and additions, including 28 positions with salaries between $25,000 and $35,000, five positions with salaries between $35,000 and $55,000 and eight positions salaried between $45,000 and $100,000.