Property houses Hard Rock Cafe, gift shop and 4D theater
Niagara County Community College President James P. Klyczek on Tuesday announced the Cordish Companies donated the land at 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls, to the NCCC Foundation.
The parcel, which faces the entrance to the Niagara Falls State Park, is almost one acre in size and includes a 23,000-square-foot, one-story brick building, driveway and parking lot. Part of the building has been the home of the Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls USA, for over 20 years. It's operated by Hard Rock International, which is based in Orlando. The remainder of the building houses a large seasonal gift shop, JD Gifts and the 4D Thunder Theater.
"The donation is timely for the foundation as the college seeks more space to expand its hospitality and tourism academic programs downtown," said NCCC Board of Trustees Chairman Vincent R. Ginestre. "Also, our student housing corporation is still searching for a permanent location for dedicated student housing to allow expansion of Niagara Falls Culinary Institute enrollment."
Since opening in 2012, approximately 80 to 100 students per semester have been residing in the Quality Inn Hotel across the street from the Culinary Institute.
NCCC Foundation board member Gina I. Virtuoso, who also serves on the college's board of trustees as finance committee chairwoman, said David Cordish, president of the Cordish Companies, directed the donation to the foundation to support growth of the college's programs.
Cordish previously donated the Niagara Falls Rainbow Mall to the NCCC Foundation in 2010. That gift, Klyczek said, "is the largest in the history of the NCCC Foundation and believed to be the largest ever given to a SUNY Community College." At that time, the foundation transferred the property to the college, and the college retained about one-third of the mall to build the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. It returned the remaining two-thirds to the city for further development. That property is now the site of Uniland Development's proposed Wonder Falls Resort.
As part of that original contribution in 2010, the Cordish Companies also donated 310 Rainbow Blvd., at the corner of Old Falls Street, to the college's foundation. The foundation turned that prime one-acre property over to the City of Niagara Falls and it is now the site of the Hamister Hyatt Place Hotel project under construction.
"We are overwhelmed by the generosity of David Cordish and the Cordish Companies in the awarding of the property to the NCCC Foundation," said foundation Chairperson Jerald I. Wolfgang. "As with Mr. Cordish's very generous previous donations to the foundation, I just can't overstate the impact this will have on the work of the foundation and the college to continue to expand first-class teaching and learning opportunities to attract students to study in the heart of one of the world's greatest tourist destinations."
"Unlike the previous donations that were transferred from the foundation to the college, the property will remain with the foundation at least until environmental studies, building condition analyses, and the property survey and search can be completed," NCCC Foundation Director Deborah Brewer said. "For the near future, the foundation will work with our tenants and use revenue to complete property maintenance and improvements, and, of course, to support student scholarships - our core mission."
"We are proud of the academic and fieldwork experiences our faculty are able to provide students at the Culinary Institute, but even more so in our relationships with the Niagara County Legislature, city government and, of course, the Empire State Development Corp.," Klyczek said. "The college is making an economic impact in the City of Niagara Falls. Our foundation has been a vehicle in acquiring and either developing or returning to the city's land bank the 300,000 square-foot Rainbow Mall, the one-acre 310 Rainbow Boulevard property, and now 333 Prospect. We've built a 90,000-suare-foot culinary institute with more than 500 students there daily, and another 100 students a semester living in downtown Niagara Falls. We continue to project doubling and tripling that number."