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NCIDA board of directors OKs applications for assistance for tourism projects in Niagara Falls, Lockport

by jmaloni

Press release

Thu, Feb 14th 2013 07:05 pm

Projects include two hotels, construction of a visitor's center and retail space for a winery in Lockport's Old City Hall

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency board of directors accepted applications for assistance for four tourism projects in Niagara Falls and Lockport on Wednesday. All applications will be reviewed and voted on at the board's March meeting after public meetings are held regarding each individual project.

It is estimated that the projects will retain 17 full-time jobs and 47 part-time jobs, while creating approximately 50 new full-time jobs and about 20 seasonal and part-time jobs. The projects also will generate more than $10 million in capital investment. The applications submitted are projects that include a hotel refurbishment and a hotel conversion in Niagara Falls, and a new visitor's center and winery along the Flight of Five - Erie Canal Locks 67-71 - in Lockport.

"These are all tourism-related projects that meet the criteria for assistance by our agency, and our board is very pleased that two of the projects utilized the Opportunity Zone program, which was specifically created to incent investment in the cities of Niagara Falls and Lockport," said Lockport Mayor and acting NCIDA Chairman Michael Tucker. "I am personally pleased to see the continued investment along and around the Flight of Five as the potential of this historic project for our city will provide a huge economic impact not only in Lockport, but Niagara County."

Local hotelier B.F. Patel, through Indian Ocean LLC, is seeking a commercial payment in lieu of taxes and sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions to invest $6.650 million to convert a vacant office building at 900 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, into a Courtyard Marriott hotel. The conversion includes an addition of a third floor and general improvements to the rest of the historic structure. When completed, the new hotel would create 24 new jobs and nine part-time jobs with a total annual payroll of approximately $700,000. The estimated annual community benefit is $3.37 million.

Hydraulic Race Co. is the operator of the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride in Lockport. The company is proposing to construct a 1,136-square-foot visitor's center at 5 Gooding St. Hydraulic Race Co. is seeking a five-year Opportunity Zone PILOT and sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions. The total project cost is $104,300, with estimated annual community benefit of $172,100.

Maid of the Mist Hospitality LLC is seeking to invest $4 million to refurbish the Comfort Inn The Pointe located at One Prospect Pointe in Niagara Falls. In order to retain the Comfort Inn franchise from Choice Hotels, refurbishments and upgrades must be performed with completion deadlines. Maid of the Mist Hospitality is requesting a 10-year commercial PILOT sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions. The total annual estimated benefit to the community is approximately $3.9 million.

Geise Properties LLC - Old City Hall is seeking a five-year Opportunity Zone and sales tax exemptions to renovate space within this historic property located at 2 Pine St., Lockport, which will be leased to the Flight of Five Winery as well as other food and tourism retail operations. The renovations are estimated to cost $200,000, with an estimated annual community benefit of $1.145 million. Birdsong Holly, a renowned Lockport inventory, designed and constructed the first functional water turbine in the building, and Geise Properties intends to renovate this original power source.

"We know how critically important it is to retain and create jobs, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that we need to invest in our tourism industry in order to create a critical mass of quality lodging, as well as venues and attractions to get people to our region to visit and spend money," Tucker said.

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation established in 1972 by the Niagara County Legislature. Under the provisions of the New York Industrial Development Agency Act, the NCIDA is empowered to actively attract and develop economically sound commerce and industry, thereby fostering job opportunities, general prosperity, and economic welfare for all residents of Niagara County. The NCIDA utilizes a variety of financing, tax incentive and job training programs to induce economic growth. Many of these programs can be employed individually to meet a specific need or assembled to form a comprehensive development package.

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