As he looks out his front window from his Destination Niagara USA offices and just across Rainbow Boulevard, John Percy sees not an empty building but an opportunity.
After sitting vacant for 20 years, there is hope that the 12-story long-vacant Hotel Niagara can reopen and become a hospitality industry jewel for Niagara Falls.

The best chance of that happening rests with Syracuse-based Hotel Niagara Development LLC, an affiliate of Brine Wells Development LLC.

Hotel Niagara Development is working on a proposed $50,799,500 makeover of the shuttered landmark, with the first step taking place on June 12 when the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency directors approved setting a public hearing on $6.7 million in tax breaks the entity needs for the project to advance. Pending a public hearing - still to be set - the NCIDA directors will formally vote on the tax break package in July.

“We are lacking new rooms in this marketplace,” said Percy, Destination Niagara USA president and CEO. Destination Niagara is Niagara County’s tourism and hospitality promotion agency.

Plans call for the hotel to have 160 rooms plus new restaurants, meeting space and a rooftop lounge.

Much like Brine Wells’ revived Marriott Syracuse Downtown, the Niagara Falls hotel will be affiliated with the Marriott chain - albeit one of its more upscale brands. Marriott already has a stakeholder in Niagara Falls with a Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield Inn.

“Having that national brand certainly elevates us,” Percy said. “It will be a huge lift.”
And, it will help Percy and his staff bring in more business -more casual and leisure travelers along with business trips - to Niagara Falls.

Niagara County has 4,458 hotel rooms, but a revived Hotel Niagara will increase that total by 3.5% to 4,618 rooms.

Within the downtown Niagara Falls core - the area closest to the Fabled Falls, Niagara Falls State Park, and Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, there are 2,508 hotel rooms but that number will increase by 6.3% to 2,668 rooms.

“It gives us something to work with,” Percy said.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel opened in 1923 and its heyday welcomed such guests as Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra and President Eisenhower. Monroe stayed in the hotel for more than two months while filming “Niagara” in 1952.

Hotel Niagara Development was selected by USA Niagara Development - an arm of Empire State Development Corp. - following a 2018 RFP process. The project stalled because of the COVID-19 pandemic but was brought back to life earlier this year by Brine Wells.

The hotel was last opened in 2004.

Pictures of Niagara Falls

Pictures from both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls.

Gallery Credit: Canva

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