Mon September 16, 2013
Hamister hotel project will move forward in Niagara Falls
After months of sparring, a proposed $25.3 million mixed-use project will move forward.
Niagara Falls City Councilman Robert A. Anderson, Jr. has pledged to vote in favor of the project proposed by Hamister Development, Inc.
The lawmaker will change his vote at a regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council scheduled for later Monday.
Anderson’s vote will provide the needed third councilmember in favor of the project, signifying majority approval of the Niagara Falls City Council and allowing the planned development to advance at a city-owned site located at 310 Rainbow Boulevard in downtown Niagara Falls, New York.
“I would like to thank Councilman Anderson for his support of this project,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “Councilman Anderson took the time to seriously consider the proposal, ask the right questions and ultimately act in the best interest of the people of Niagara Falls. It is projects such as this that will result in jobs, new tax revenue and other economic benefits for the local community.”
In exchange for his new vote, Anderson was assured that the project will include a performance bond, that any reverter clause would shield the city from any future liabilities and that every effort will be made to hire local workers when construction begins.
The announcement was made late Monday morning at the Niagara Falls Confernence Center.
“I’ve done my due diligence and believe that the Hamister project is good for our community,” said Councilman Anderson. “I am proud to throw my support behind this much-needed development and look forward to casting my vote in favor of the project later today.”
Anderson continued, “I’d like to express my sincere thanks and respect to Governor Cuomo and Sam Hoyt for their direct involvement and leadership, as well as helping to get me comfortable with some key elements of the overall transaction.”
Sam Hoyt , Senior Vice President for Regional Economic Development at the Empire State Development Corporation, shared some of the blame for not communicating directly with Anderson who had concerns about the project.
Hoyt told reporters he didn't reach out to Anderson until this past week.
"I'll fall on the sword on this one. I took too long to reach out to this man," said Hoyt. "I never spoke directly to Mr. Anderson and that was my mistake."
Hoyt and Anderson appeared together at a news conference Monday.
"I learned a lesson here. Direct communications with somebody is the best way to do business," said Hoyt.
"And we're going to move forward," said Anderson.
The project would be a one of the biggest downtown development projects for the city of Niagara Falls that is no-casino related. There has been no such development on this scale in over 40-years.
Developer Mark Hamister has proposed to create 110 upscale hotel rooms, 24 market-rate residential rental apartments, and up to 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail.
The project is estimated to generate 200 to 300 direct, indirect and induced jobs during construction and create 70 permanent jobs.