NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Governor Andrew Cuomo has sealed the deal for one of the biggest economic projects in years on the American side of the Falls.
He came to the Cataract City on Thursday to congratulate City Council members and developer Mark Hamister for getting a deal done on a new $25 million hotel and business space on Rainbow Boulevard.
At 100,000-square feet, this will be the largest non-casino development to take place in Niagara Falls in more than 40 years.
Gov. Cuomo said, "You name it, we have it. I mean, God couldn't have giving you a better natural attraction and better natural resource if you wanted to. That's what Niagara Falls is all about. But for the last number of years we played development happen around us and we haven't been as competitive as neighboring areas. And that's the truth."
And this deal almost didn't happen. Hamister wanted to pull out of the project after it became a political football during the City Council election. Hamister says a phone call from the governor changed his mind and he's already looking forward to the project.
"We're going to have a 5,000-square foot outdoor patio on the roof as well as in and indoor conference center so that when people rent that space, they look down and see the gorge in the midst of the falls and the park from the upper floor of this building," Hamister said.
The developer hopes his leap of faith in the City of Niagara Falls will lead to others to do the same.
"This project by itself itself is not going to be the game changer. But the process of approval for projects like it and other project that will provide entertainment value two individuals particularly with children to stay here with their families in Niagara Falls when they come to see the eighth wonder of the world. I think it's going to be something profound. I look forward to this project being the seed for many more projects," Hamister said.
The contract agreement is expected to be signed next month. Ground breaking on Rainbow Boulevard could happen by summer or fall of next year.
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