NIAGARA FALLS (WKBW) A long debated, multi-million dollar hotel project in Niagara Falls may now happen after all. The proposal has finally been approved by the City Council thanks to one member switching his vote at the council meeting Monday night.
Applause at the Niagara Falls City Council meeting after a 3-2 vote approved the proposed plan, and the 25 million dollar mixed used development project from the Hamister Group is now a big step closer to becoming a reality.
"We're extremely pleased with the favorable vote from the council members, and we thank those who voted for it and saw the value our project brought to the City of Niagara Falls and taxpayers," Senior VP of Business Development Dan Hamister said after the meeting.
Earlier on Monday, Councilman Robert Anderson announced he would be switching sides and voting in favor of the project, after receiving guarantees from Sam Hoyt and Empire State Development that local labor would be used and that taxpayers wouldn't have to foot any of the bill.
"A win is a win and it means that there are still some on the sidelines, that may have a reason to want to see the project fail, but if the project is successful everyone gets to go to the ribbon cutting, we don't care who voted which way in the city council, everybody gets to come," Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said.
At times, the project was close to falling apart because some felt the city wasn't getting a good deal for the land involved, across from the Rainbow Mall. Now it only requires some legal tweaking and the mayor's signature before construction could begin in the spring.
"It's great news, it's something we need to celebrate, it's something we need to replicate, and if this project goes well, which we anticipate it will, it's going to send a message to developers across the country and Canada, that downtown Niagara Falls is a great place to invest in," Sam Hoyt of Empire State Development said.
Councilman Sam Fruschione and Council Chairman Glen Choolokian were the two who voted against the project, saying during the vote they believed it was not in the best interest of Niagara Falls.
Construction is expected to take 2 years, which would put an opening sometime in 2016.