Hotel Niagara and the Future of the Cataract City

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Real talk, flock: I’ve known about the Hotel Niagara for months.

I even knew about it before the Niagara Falls Reporter knew about it.

Back in January, I was sitting in a room with a particular individual aware of the plan. He expected it to be announced in February, and began to fill me in (knowing my love of Niagara Falls).

He showed me photographs of a similar hotel in Syracuse, and told me the same people were going to work on the Niagara.

Remember when I met the governor? Thank the Hotel Niagara guy.

Well, here we are in July, and the governor has come to town to announce the $42 million project.

Here’s what you need to know:

Brine Wells Development is restoring the hotel

Brine Wells fixed up the Hotel Syracuse (now the Marriot Syracuse). If you want to see what the Hotel Niagara will look like, take a peek at the Hotel Syracuse. It will have restaurants. It will have views. It will have that rooftop bar that everyone has been demanding. The Hotel Niagara is coming back in force, and Brine Wells is behind it.

Niagara University will be involved

Niagara University is expected to play some role within the building upon completion. This is directly tied to the university’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, which is highly accredited. What will they be doing? I can’t say: you’ll have to stay tuned.

This is only the beginning

I’m about to get into speculation here, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

According to some “in the know,” Niagara Falls, NY is pivoting its target demographic.

Remember the feasibility study for a new events center in Niagara Falls? That’s part of a larger plan. We already have a series of RFPs (Request for Proposals) along the state owned waterfront, and a the Niagara Global Tourism Group (also part of Niagara University) is moving to Niagara St. The Niagara St. site also involves a slew of retail and market-rate apartments.

With some of the writing on the wall (including a debatable claim for a hotel and spa by NFR), it is possible to concur that the murmurs might have credit: Niagara Falls wants wealth.

To paraphrase one of the things I heard: We’re building expensive hotels for rich business people to stay in, event centers for their work, and boutiques for their leisure.

Niagara Falls has tried for years to rid itself of its “Honky-Tonk” image (a phrase I’m stealing from a 1960s Urban Renewal article I read).

Will this do it? Only time will tell.

What do you think? Is Niagara Falls easing into a wealthier market? Is the ritzy refurbishment of the Hotel Niagara a brilliant idea? Leave a comment below.

-Sheepie ❤

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