The Buffalo skyline is changing. Crews have started removing the old red Adam's Mark signs from the drab concrete building at the Church Street exit off the I-190 downtown. The new owner is planning to restore the hotel's grandeur and expand it to fill the need for a new Convention Center.
Canadian developer Harry Stinson's been fine tuning his plans and making some cosmetic changes to the old Adam's Mark hotel since buying the property two months ago. Stinson says it's being renamed the Buffalo Grand Hotel.
"Adam's Mark - people didn't even know what it was. A hat company? Insurance? I don't know," Stinson said. His main goal is capitalizing on the hotel's 500 rooms, and 72,000 square feet of existing open space, which he says, is the same size as the outdated Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
"And that's the message we want to get out there is - don't worry about the Convention Center folks there is one. There's another one here. And we're going to expand it. Within the next two years we'll double the capacity here. Then we'll be up to close to 200,000 feet - without a nickel of taxpayer money," Stinson said.
He's planning to build the new event space on nearly two acres of land the hotel uses for outdoor parking. Along with room to grow, Stinson says the property's location downtown is ideal.
"You couldn't ask for a more central recognizable location for the hotel. And if you're booking an event or having a group here you can walk to Canalside. You can walk to the Theatre District. You can walk to anything from here. The Thruway goes right past. You don't have to take this exit and turn left and turn right and go back here. It's right there. Totaly visible. If you're going to the hockey game it's right here," Stinson said.
Room renovations, Stinson said, will start in about 60 days. The plain concrete building will be painted a bright color to make it stand out. He says work on the new Buffalo Grand Hotel should be complete within two years.
WBFO intern Ronald Peralta contributed to this report.