Board approves items to advance mixed-use development in downtown Niagara Falls
The USA Niagara Development Corp. board of directors met Tuesday and approved two grants for mixed-use projects at 311 Rainbow Blvd., and 320-324 Niagara St., in downtown Niagara Falls. USAN said the projects are leveraging private-sector investment to facilitate economic development within its development district.
“USAN continues to support projects that will transform downtown Niagara Falls into a pedestrian, residential and tourist-friendly area,” USAN Chairwoman Francine DelMonte said. “These projects both have historic elements – whether reestablishing a residential block or rehabbing historic properties – that will also add character and vitality to the tourist district.”
The USAN board awarded a grant of up to $1.7 million to Plati Niagara Inc. for its project at 311 Rainbow Blvd., which was previously announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul. The Cambria Hotel Niagara Falls is a $20 million mixed-use development project expected to open in spring of 2023.
This seven-story, 120-room upscale hotel brand will also include three new residential guest houses (to be marketed as vacation rentals) on Buffalo Avenue to complement the historic character of Buffalo Avenue’s heritage district. The guest houses will reestablish a residential block of Buffalo Avenue between Third and Fourth streets, where only a single residential structure currently remains.
Units will also be located across from 305 Buffalo Ave., a parcel New York state purchased as part of its strategic land acquisition program, and where a new trail/stairway connection to the riverway opened in spring 2021. Plati Niagara Inc. also owns a Wingate by Wyndham in Niagara Falls.
The USAN board also awarded a $145,000 Niagara Economic Development Fund grant to 324 Niagara Street Landlord LLC, a newly formed company founded by Samuel Savarino, for its mixed-use historic rehabilitation project at 320 and 324 Niagara St.
This $3.5 million restoration of two mixed-used, three-story buildings, totaling 12,531 square-feet, includes capital improvements, facade improvements and interior renovations creating 4,177 square-feet of first-floor commercial/retail space. The project also includes renovations of 10 market-rate apartments on the second and third floors. These buildings are among the few surviving structures of the dense, mixed-use commercial-residential environment that once characterized Niagara Street. USAN noted the buildings represent an important contribution to the late-19th and early-20th century urban architecture, commercial history and community development of downtown Niagara Falls.
The USAN board also approved two other items:
•Approval of its fiscal year 2022-23 annual operating ($674,692) and capital ($70,244,760) budgets. It is anticipated the proposed funding will underwrite design support and construction costs for the Rainbow Mall civic improvement project, capital grants related to the Hotel Niagara and Cambria Hotel/residential development projects, and maintenance and site preparation expenses associated with properties secured through USAN’s strategic land acquisition program. Individual project expenses will be approved by the directors under separate actions.
•Approval of the $1,499,927 Niagara Falls Convention Center and Old Falls Street 2022 operating and capital budgets.
USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls. For more information, visit https://esd.ny.gov/usa-niagara-development-corporation-6.